South Tyrone beef farmer Robert Capper had 10 prime Charolais heifers stolen from lands they were grazing on the outskirts of Dungannon in the early hours of last Friday morning. This is the latest in a series of cattle thefts to have befallen him and many of his neighbours over recent years.
“I don’t know what more I can do,” he said.
“Every square yard of the main farmyard is covered by security cameras of one form or another. The cattle were taken from an outlying field, which we just cannot cover with cameras.”
Robert went on to point out that the modus operandi of the thieves, in this most recent incident, was identical to that which was followed back in 2012 – the last time that cattle were stolen from the farm.
“The thieves cut three strands of wire at the bottom of the field in which the cattle were grazing and drove them to a shed on a nearby farm. From there they selected the best 10 animals in the group and then drove off. We could see the tracks made by the vehicle the next morning."
Robert pointed out that a number of his neighbours have lost cattle in rustling incidents over the past number of years.
“In our own case we have worked closely with the PSNI, to the extent that the police actually branded a number of the cattle on the farm this time last year. And, as it turned out, two of the branded animals were in the group taken last Friday morning.”
Robert is also concerned about the insurance implications of this latest robbery.
“It’s getting to the stage where I won’t be able to get insurance cover for this type of incident. Or the premiums will be increased to an extent where it just won’t become feasible to seek this type of cover.
“The stolen animals taken last Friday are worth in the region of £1,300 per head. We bought them in as weanlings this time last year. We reported the robbery immediately to the PSNI, who came out to investigate the incident without delay.
“Something has to be done to stop the scourge of cattle rustling in South Tyrone. It is making life totally unbearable for farmers in this area.”