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ewe better watch out Gardai issue appeal as they reveal shocking scale of sheep stealing

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Gardai in Wicklow have issued an appeal for people living in rural communities to be on the alert for suspicious movements after new figures revealed the shocking scale of sheep stealing. 

The Gardai said they have had reports of thefts of 176 sheep in Co Wicklow for 2020, which were all taken in six different incidents. There has already been one reported theft this year in West Wicklow.

In an effort to highlight this situation, Detective Sergeant Barry Turner in Wicklow has been in regular, ongoing contact with the IFA in Co Wicklow to raise Garda concerns with this type of theft, especially in the lead up to the Easter Lamb market.

“The starting point,” he says in a post on the Wicklow Garda Facebook page, “is target hardening and encouraging farmers to use heavy duty locks and chains on their gates which would make the theft of sheep more difficult.

"Farmers should also count their flock as often as possible and immediately report any losses to An Garda Síochána.”

Detective Sergeant Turner is also proposing modifications to systems currently being employed for tagging flocks. This will allow identification of animals at all phases of their life cycle, including the factory stage.

Superintendent Anthony Farrell, Baltinglass, is also backing the the proposal in Wicklow.

Superintendent Farrell said farmers can also do small things to make this type of theft more difficult, such as for example, branding each flock, with clearly identifiable markings.

“I would ask people living in rural communities to be alert to this type of crime and if they see something unusual or suspicious, please advise the local farmer and indeed An Garda Síochána,” he said.

“Unusual or suspicious could be as simple as a trailer on farmland they don’t recognise. This is a particular type of crime where the culprit has a specific knowledge of animals but also access to transport to move them from fields.

An Garda Síochána in parts affected by these thefts in Co Wicklow are monitoring the movement of all animals, especially sheep. Please be vigilant.”

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