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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Rural community urged to tighten security in bid to beat burglars

The PSNI has urged the rural community in Mid and East Antrim to tighten home security in a bid to beat burglars following a recent upsurge in thefts.

Crime prevention officer Paul Black told a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) recently that properties in Glarryford and Clough outside Ballymena and in the Carnlough area have been targeted.

He highlighted the benefit of signing up to a ‘Farm Watch’ scheme which enables communities to work together by sharing information. It is being delivered by Mid and East Antrim PCSP in conjunction with the PSNI.

Rural residents can sign up through Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s website. Participants will receive up-to-the-minute text alerts from the PCSP and PSNI on issues affecting their neighbourhood.

It is aimed at improving communication between the farming community and police by encouraging people to report suspicious incidents as they occur.

“Farm Watch is about trying to get information out there quickly,” the officer explained. He advised residents to step up home security starting with improved locks and lighting. He appealed to anyone who witnesses suspicious activity such as cars driving past slowly to pass on this information to police immediately.

Commenting on a recent incident, he said:

“In the Glarryford area, information started to come in very quickly. We realised people were seeing the same things.”

He acknowledged that sometimes people do not understand how to contact the police. The officer advised that the 999 number should be used during an emergency especially if someone feels at risk or under threat or witnesses a crime and the 101 number should be used to pass on information to police about a crime.

He also emphasised that no-one should confront a burglar but should instead contact police immediately.

Chief Inspector Arnie O’Neill reported an increase in rural crime since mid-June and “quite a number” of burglaries, all of which, he noted, remain “under active investigation”.

He went on to say that during follow-up calls when speaking to residents of nearby properties, officers have been told that vehicles and people have been seen acting suspiciously during hours of darkness but these incidents were not reported to police at the time.

He reminded: “If you see something that looks strange, report it to police immediately either by ringing 999 or 111. We need to know about it right away to give us the best opportunity to catch those people in the act.”

Packs are available free of charge containing useful information and helpful tips to protect farming equipment and property from criminals. You can obtain a pack from the NFU Mutual in Ballymena, Donnelly’s of Rathkenny and Ballymena Police Station.

Items that have been stolen from isolated properties in the Glarryford, Clough and Carnlough areas, he said, include farm machinery, trailers, power washers and other “high value” items.

“It is an issue we are responding to. If you do live in a farming or rural area in an isolated property and you have not signed up for Farm Watch, get in touch. It is very useful and very worthwhile.”

Detectives in Ballymena recently appealed for information following a number of reported burglaries and thefts in the Clough area.

Detective Sergeant Macaulay said:

“Police received a report that sometime between 11pm on Wednesday, 21st September and 8am on Thursday, 22nd September, a grey Toyota Hilux was taken from a property in the Tullykittagh Road area.

“It was then reported that a chainsaw and generator were taken from a shed in the same area at around the same time. There was also damage caused to a second shed.

“Following this, a further report was made of a builder’s trailer and a power washer which had been taken, also from a property in the same area. At this stage, we are investigating a potential link between these incidents.

“We would like to speak with anyone who may have information regarding these incidents, particularly those with CCTV or dashcam footage, or who have witnessed any suspicious activity in the area. If you have information regarding these incidents please contact police by calling 101 and quoting reference 553 of 22/09/22.”


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