Police have recovered 670 sheep, believed to have been illegally imported from the Republic of Ireland, at farm premises in the Fermanagh area on Tuesday (October 1).
Inspector Roy Robinson, the PSNI’s sector commander for Enniskillen and Fermanagh West, said the operation had been part of an ongoing joint investigation into alleged cross-border criminality involving the movement of sheep.
“There have been concerns about the thefts, illegal movement and identification of livestock in border areas and a suspicion that the stolen animals were being moved across the border from both sides into the other jurisdiction. We have carried out a number of search operations, however this is the most significant series of finds.
“Dealing with rural crime is a priority for police in Fermanagh, whether that is the theft of livestock or machinery. We welcome any information that local people can provide to help us put a stop to criminal activity that affects the livelihoods of so many people, whether directly or indirectly.”
The sheep were recovered in the Belnaleck and Derrylin area as part of a proactive police investigation.
Inspector Robinson said: “Rural and agricultural crime is a serious issue and police understand the concerns of those who have been directly involved. It is important to stress that the PSNI takes a robust approach in tackling all crime, including those which affect the rural community. We are committed to reducing rural and agricultural crime. Police want to work towards reducing opportunities for this type of crime by increasing public awareness, working with other partner agencies to identify ways of preventing crime, and targeting and arresting those committing such offences.
“The prevention and detection of rural and agricultural crime continues on a day-to-day basis and we would request assistance from rural communities by asking them to report suspicious activity surrounding the movement of livestock.
Danny Gray from the DARD Veterinary Service Enforcement Branch said: “DARD welcomes these joint operations which are effective in the ongoing fight against the Rural Crime. Veterinary Service Enforcement Branch has been working closely with the PSNI in a number of similar cases, assisting the PSNI carry out inspections and investigations.
“Illegal movement of sheep can seriously undermine traceability and is a real threat to the trade on which the industry depends.”
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