By Anthony Quinn
Dungannon District has been revealed as Northern Ireland’s cattle rustling hotspot.
Some 625 cattle have been reported stolen or missing in the Dungannon District in 2012/13, the highest total in Northern Ireland, with a further 453 stolen in 2013/14.
Omagh had the second highest total at 407, while Mallusk had the lowest at 56.
The livestock figures, which were released last week by the Northern Ireland Assembly, do not include sheep.
The figures suggest that one-in-three cattle thefts occur in Tyrone. Should DARD implement a system in development for the recording of stolen or missing sheep, that proportion would be expected to grow.
PSNI Inspector Roy Robinson said rogue farmers were to blame for smuggling across the Irish border.
“It’s a big problem where people are changing identification of these animals, and then smuggling them.”