A Co Armagh farmer has been left sickened after thieves raided his yard, stealing thousands of pounds worth of tools and equipment.
The incident happened under the cover of darkness on the Marlacoo Road towards Tandragee, sometime between late last night and first thing this morning.
Despite locks on all the gates the burglars manage to break-in, before making off with the loot, which included compressors and “anything they could get their hands on”.
MLA William Irwin, spoke with the farmer this morning, and told Armagh I he has been left sickened.
Read more: Appeal for witnesses after pedestrian struck by car in Bessbrook
“He had his gates and all locked,” Mr Irwin explained.
“They cut the locks and stole a compressor and pretty much everything they could put their hands on. It was thousands of pounds worth of equipment stolen.
“What more can a man do, he did his bit. He had everything locked up and seemingly secured but that made no difference to these boys.”
Mr Irwin added: “There seems to be a total spree in that whole area at the minute between this and house break-ins. There looks to be a couple of gangs operating like this. These are career criminals, no doubt about it.
“They come armed with the equipment needed to break-through the locks. One of the homes burgled in Richhill earlier this week had a camera at the back and they pulled the wires out of the back of that. The woman was on holiday and found what had happened to her home.
Read more: ‘Scum of the earth!’ Burglary victim hits out as house is ransacked in 15-minute window
“Other than catching these people red-handed, it’s very difficult to stop them. Police have told me they have been changing number plates too. One mile down the road and they’ll slap on a different number plate. Police can look for a number plate but sure that’ll be changed.
“The farmer I spoke with this morning is absolutely sickened. Like most people, the very thought that someone would break into your property, cut your locks and steal your belongings is scary. It’s not only the value but the sheer annoyance of the whole thing.
“Even if they don’t take anything, it’s the very fact they have ransacked a house or farmyard, it’s very annoying. And on top of that, there’s the uncomfortable thought that maybe they’ll be back.
“There’s only so much a farmer can do; this particular man had everything locked up. Other than installing camera and lights it’s very difficult but at the same time some of these guys can get around all that – these methods aren’t foolproof.”
Read more: Council staff take village Christmas tree away after it is wrecked by vandals
Mr Irwin says he believes these gangs will continue to operate in the area until they are caught.
“I think it’s important that the community keeps eyes and ears on these things, now more than ever. People must be suspicious, they most report anything – no matter how small – they think just doesn’t feel right.
“The people doing this are not like most people, they’re not worried about their name. Principles are out the window with them and the police are only as good as the information they receive too, of course.
“It’s almost impossible to have a roadblock on every road. In fairness to them, there has been a more visible presence in recent days.”