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Farmers in Tipperary 'patrolling countryside with guns' to ward off burglars

One man’s farm has been targeted six times.

Image: shotgun image via Shutterstock

Updated 5.55pm

A MAN WHOSE farm has been targeted by thieves six times has said farmers in rural Tipperary are living in such fear they have started patrolling the countryside with guns.

Speaking to Newstalk, Clive Clarke said a group of men stole quads, trailers and other equipment from the farm this week. They also broke into his butchering business and took knives, money and meat.

He said both he and his father, who also lives on the farm, sleep with loaded shotguns by their beds. Clarke spent months sleeping in a shed after he was robbed last year, waiting for the thieves to return so he could catch them in the act.

He became emotional as he spoke about the pressure farmers in rural Ireland are under, constantly a target for groups of travelling burglars.

“Licensed firearm holders are actually patrolling areas of the countryside at night because they’re in such fear,” he said.

Addressing the interview, ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock said, “At the very least we need more support for community alert schemes, however, with instances of rural crime on the increase there are other measures that should be urgently considered.

We need to look using the army to back up garda resources until a full complement of Gardaí are in place to tackle these gangs.

“Farmers all around the country are petrified in their own homes. It is right that those living in rural Ireland are uniting to protect themselves but the onus should not be on farmers to patrol the roads in an effort to prevent these robberies.”

Closure of garda stations

Recently elected Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill said rural crime was one of the main issues he met on the campaign trail.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, he said he knows of one woman who sleeps downstairs “so she can run out the back door” if someone breaks in.

The closure of garda stations in rural Tipperary had a devastating effect on communities, according to Cahill.

“A rural garda is able to gather knowledge and they know if there’s someone strange in the area.

Now these gangs are able to roam around and no one is able to keep an eye on them.

Though he recognised the scale of the problem, he said he would be concerned about groups taking matters into their own hands.

“I wouldn’t condemn the people doing it, because they’re doing it for the right reasons, but I’m afraid that innocent people would get hurt by that.”

He urged farmers to bring it to the attention of gardaí if they spot suspicious behaviour in their areas.

Originally posted 12.45pm.

Read: Frances Fitzgerald says the battle against burglaries is being won>

Read: “There’s only one law in this country and that’s the law of the jungle” – Irish farmers using guns to protect themselves>

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