Call for rural crime crackdown

A '˜radical and urgent crackdown' on the scourge of rural crime is required in Northern Ireland. according to a North Antrim MLA.

Assemblyman Robin Swann expressed his “tremendous disappointment” in recent rural crime figures released by NFU Mutual.

Swann, a member of Stormont’s Agriculture Committee and a Past President of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, said: “Despite the recent announcements that rural crime was decreasing, these figures show that it has actually increased to a cost of £2.7 million to our rural communities.

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“It is also surprising to note that for the same period rural crime in Scotland is significantly lower at £1.7 million.

“So despite recent reassurances that the ongoing fight against rural crime was succeeding it is now obvious it clearly isn’t, and our Justice and Agriculture Ministers must take adequate and sustainable measures to ensure this scourge and additional financial drain are removed from our rural communities.

“Significantly, cattle rustling is still high on the list of rural crime, but NFU Mutual’s report shows a significant increase in the number of pigs stolen in the past year.

“I have previously raised concerns about an underground meat trade where this livestock is being disposed of, and in these cases more must be done,” warned Assemblyman Swann.