By Noel Baker
Gardaí have appealed for witnesses after an animal rustling incident in which 100 cattle and sheep were stolen from a single farm.
Gardaí said the theft occurred between 9pm on June 24 and 1.15pm the following day from lands at Cornaher, Kilbeggan in Co Westmeath.
Despite the lands being situated close to the N6, Old Dublin Road between Kilbeggan and Tyrrellspass, it is understood that the area is remote and that the animals were not close to any housing.
A total of 75 cattle of different breeds and 25 sheep were taken. Gardaí believe a large transport vehicle or lorry would have been required to take such a large quantity of animals.
Gardaí are asking witnesses or anyone with information to contact them at Athlone Garda Station at 090 649 8550, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666111, or at any Garda Station.
The theft is the latest in a string of livestock rustling incidents to have taken place in recent years, and one of the largest.
Earlier this year, the IFA, alongside the Gardaí and Crimestoppers, launched a new campaign to combat livestock theft, offering rewards of up to €10,000 to anyone providing significant information which leads to the arrest of those responsible.
At the launch of the campaign in February, IFA president, Eddie Downey, said: “The theft of cattle and sheep is a real issue for farmers. Apart from the financial loss, the trauma inflicted on farm families leaves them very vulnerable and stressed.
“This is something that comes up repeatedly at IFA county executives around the country,” he said.
Information can be given anonymously to the Crimestoppers confidential telephone service by calling 1800 25 00 25, as well as to gardaí.
Gardaí did not provide a value on the number of animals stolen in the latest incident, but it would be expected to run into the tens of thousands of euro.