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Farmers worst hit in Armagh as criminals seek ‘soft targets’

Farmers in county Armagh are being hit hardest by criminals, according to figures released by the biggest farm insurer in the country.

The latest statistics by NFU Mutual show a 9% increase in agricultural crime, with livestock theft pretty much a daily occurrence in some areas.

Last year, farmers reported a staggering 11 crimes per week, with the Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon and Newry worst hit.

And there has been several high-profile rural crime incidents highlighted by Armagh I recently, including the theft of a Massey Ferguson tractor (since recovered) and theft of livestock from a farmer stricken in hospital.

“The figures highlight our frustration,” said UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson told Farmers Weekly.

“We can see from them where the problem is worst – Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon and Newry. In these areas we need the PSNI to respond to these statistics.

“Despite much smaller populations and housing density, in many areas rural theft and burglary now account for a third and up to half the crime of this nature. That is simply unacceptable.”

Mr Ferguson hit out at the judicial system, saying the punishments fail to reflect the impact of the crimes.

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