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'Marking shovels and tractors': Government turns to Eircodes to tackle rural theft

A campaign encouraging people to mark their property with their Eircode is being launched today.

Image: Eircode

COMBAT CRIME AND prevent theft in rural Ireland? Use Eircodes to mark your property, the government is now suggesting. 

A new campaign launching today encourages property owners, farmers and businesses to mark their property with the seven-digit identifier. 

Eircode - a postcode system for identifying the location of every house and business in Ireland – was launched back in 2015. 

Each Eircode is unique, which is helpful for emergency services, people making deliveries, and those looking to find their correct destination.

The codes, however, have been criticised in the past for having no logistical sense and for the €38 million spend on the system. 

In a turn of events though, they could prove beneficial in tackling crime if people label valuable items with their Eircode through the Property Marking Ireland programme, the aim of which is to deter theft and enable An Garda Siochána to identify and reunite stolen property with its owner. 

The logic behind the move is simple: If a stolen item is marked discreetly with an Eircode in a difficult-to-remove location, it is less attractive to criminals.

A marked item is also easier to return to an owner if recovered by the gardaí. 

The new scheme works by way of an Eircode stamp embedded onto metal items, essentially anything from a shovel to a tractor. Or a digger.

Similar efforts to tackle rural and agricultural crime have emerged in recent years. 

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In 2017, the Irish Farmers’ Association launched a Summer Secure campaign to advise its members to tattoo their equipment as their own with some sort of permanent, unique mark.

At the time that there were an estimated 2,000 thefts from farmyards reported each year in Ireland. 

“Property theft is very prevalent in rural Ireland and we need to put every barrier in place to rule out this type of illegal action,” Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development Sean Canney TD has said. 

“The use of Eircodes is a clever way of identifying ownership of property and helps in having recovered property returned.”

The new Eircode scheme will be rolled out over the coming months by non-profit Property Marking Ireland in Co Donegal, Sligo, Cavan, Louth, Clare and Tipperary. 

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