A pilot forensic marking scheme to combat rural crime – exclusively revealed by Armagh I in January – has been confirmed and launched by Justice Minister David Ford.
The project aims to help prevent and detect theft from farms.
The 200 SelectDNA farm kits – containing forensic marking solution, farm warning labels, a metal warning plaque and a UV keyring light – are to be distributed through the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, where the highest levels of agricultural crime have been recently recorded.
Mr Fordsaid: “Farm theft can have a devastating impact on victims, both emotionally and financially, so I am pleased that my Department is supporting this trial of forensic marking to help prevent and detect theft from farms.
“Used in conjunction with warning signs, forensic marking is an effective theft deterrent and assists the police in tracing the rightful owners of recovered property.”
SelectaDNA is a traceable forensic marking solution with a unique DNA code that can be easily applied to items of value such as farm equipment.
In the event that any items are stolen and recovered by police, they are immediately traceable back to an individual farm.
The Minister also highlighted the benefits of partnership working to build safer rural communities, which is a key strand of the Department of Justice Community Safety Strategy.
He added: “I welcome the fact that levels of agricultural crime have fallen 26% when compared with the previous twelve months.
“However, I recognise the impact these crimes have on individual farming businesses, and the wider implications for community confidence. It is important that we continue to work in partnership with rural communities to tackle this issue.
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“I would encourage all rural dwellers to be alert and play their part in protecting their community by reporting their suspicions or concerns about criminal activity.
“This can be done by contacting the PSNI on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111, or in the case of fraud, the DARD Fraud Hotline on 080 8100 2716.”