Sammy Meets With Larne Police
Sammy Wilson and Gordon Lyons met with the Police in Larne to discuss rural crime which seems to be on the increase in the area.
The Farmers Union have confirmed that the number of claims has climbed quite steeply and in some weeks there is at least one burglary per night.
Despite taking steps to try and secure their properties such as locking sheds, putting up CCTV cameras, installing alarms etc the burglaries are still continuing.
There are well known criminals operating in the area and the delegation pressed the Police to carry out more operations to disrupt their activities and to take a more pro-active approach in searching their premises, watching their movements, monitoring their vehicles, etc.
Disappointment was also expressed at the way in which the courts very often granted bail to those who the Police did catch allowing them to continue their criminal activities whilst awaiting trial.
It is clear from the lifestyle of some of those who are involved that they do well out of their criminal activities and this in itself should give grounds for investigation by HMRC and other government agencies so that even if they are not caught red-handed with stolen goods at least the source of their ill-gotten gains can be scrutinised.
The delegation called on the Police to undertake more focused patrolling in the area, to increase the level of manpower and attention which was given to rural crime and for the matter to be given higher priority in the policing plan for the area.
It was agreed there would be ongoing discussions with the Police to monitor progress in dealing with this very worrying problem which is costing farmers hundreds of thousands of pounds per year as well as the ongoing stress of wondering when their properties would be targeted again, especially since in some instances farms had been targeted more than 3 times in less than a year.