A new rural crime tool is being launched in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon area to tackle the problem of theft of agricultural items such as mowers, sprayers and trailers.
Around 200 farms will be encouraged to join the pilot scheme which is deploying SelectaDNA and went live at this year's Mullahead Ploughing Match on Saturday, 27th February.
The initiative is being funded by the Department of Justice and will be implemented by the Armagh Banbridge & Craigavon Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) together with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Launching the pilot scheme Justice Minister David Ford said: "Farm theft can have a devastating impact on victims, both emotionally and financially, so I am pleased that my Department can support this trial of forensic marking to help prevent and detect theft from farms. Used in conjunction with warning signs, forensic marking is an effective theft deterrent and can aid in assisting the police in tracing the rightful owners of recovered property."
SelectaDNA is a traceable forensic marking solution with a unique DNA code that can be easily applied to items of value such as farm equipment. In the event that any items are stolen and recovered by Police, they are immediately traceable back to the individual farm.
PCSP Chairman Alderman Robert Smith said: "Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon PCSP is happy to be part of this pilot project and to be able to provide some support to local farmers protect their property using SelectaDNA.
"This will complement our existing Farm Watch Scheme and is part of an overall package of crime prevention measures which can help to reduce theft of items such as quad bikes, tractors, trailers and power tools. For too long the rural community in our area has suffered losses to criminals and the PCSP is committed to continuing our focus on reducing rural crime."
James Brown, Managing Director of Selectamark, the company who supply the system, said: "SelectaDNA has helped rural communities across the UK drive down theft and burglaries, and we are extremely excited to now be working alongside the PSNI and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Community Safety Partnership, to achieve the same results.
"We are fully committed to providing these communities and the Police with the tools and support they need to reduce crime and create safer places to live and work in."
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District Commander, Superintendent Davy Moore said: "We are delighted to introduce a further crime prevention measure for our local rural and agricultural community. At the start of February we were pleased to note that rural crime in the District has almost halved. This is testament to the focused operations, patrols, crime prevention measures and partnerships that local officers have dedicated themselves to.
"We will continue our work to drive down this type of crime and believe that SelectaDNA will provide an added layer of protection and reassurance to local farmers. We have received positive feedback and comments from the rural community about our proactive crime prevention initiatives such as trailer marking and Farmwatch schemes and are confident that this pilot will prove just as successful."
DNA Forensic Marking www.selectadna.co.uk | @selectadna
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