Criminals targeting farmsteads risking death as farmers take up arms

There are also awes that hard-working farmers are being betrayed by people within their own community who tip off offence gangs.

This week the Sunday World got a frosty welcome at a arable which is home to an alleged key figure in the movement of stolen cattle.

William Cranston’s serene farm straddles the border between Monaghan and south Armagh.

He was convicted aftermost year of selling three cattle that he knew to be stolen from a holding in Drumconrath, Co. Meath, in September 2014.

Cranston was sentenced last October to five months custody, but launched an appeal which has yet to be heard in court.

The conviction followed a honky-tonk investigation between Gardaí and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the De rtment of Agriculture.

There was no initials of Cranston at his Skerrymore farm in Drumacrib, Castleblayney, when the Sunday Overjoyed called this week.

A gentleman who declined to identify himself answered that Cranston would have no interest in talking to the Sunday Clique about the case.

“Youse would only put gossip in the news per. Shite, and I skilled in that, you wouldn’t do him any good,” he said.

It later emerged the gentleman is Cranston’s originate Howard, who also has a record as a rogue farmer.

Last year he was fined €1,000 after he recognized driving his vehicle at a car in which there were two De rtment of Agriculture officials.

The officials had visited his Skerrymore cultivate to “investigate livestock issues”, it was heard in court.

Cranston pleaded cul ble to a careless driving charge after it had been reduced from one of hazardous driving.

He also admitted a charge of engaging in threatening and abusive conduct.

Gardaí said that Cranston drove his car at the officials’ vehicle and yelled abuse at them.

It appeared he had “an issue” with the officials.

Cranston refused driving his vehicle at the other vehicle, but had claimed he was “trying to flag them down” on the roadway and apologised for his actions.

His son William received €54,392.19 in subsidies last year from the Office of Agriculture, although the yments were reported to have since been re-examined by regime officials.

Meanwhile, it emerged this week that the fear of wrong is still a serious issue among farmers in the border region.

This was stayed by a survey which has shown the vast majority believe they should be conceded to use guns to defend their property.

Macra na Feirme’s research also bring about half of the farmers who responded had been victims of rural crime.

Bert Stewart, the Irish Grangers Association regional chairman in Monaghan for Ulster and north Leinster, express there are genuine fears someone will get shot.

“There’s quiet a fear factor out there among rural people and among the cultivation community that there will be someone seriously injured or silenced,” he told the Sunday World this week.

“If farmers have any leeriness of anyone near their stock or farmyard the first thing they stage a revive with them is their shotgun.

“There is a fear out there that something is flourishing to happen,” he added.

“I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already to be honest,” revealed the dairy farmer.

The border counties have been among the worst struck by livestock thefts and there is concern that criminals have limited knowledge.

“There would be a fear of local knowledge of information being out on in some instances, rticularly in the livestock end of it – there has to be some local conversance,” said Bert.

Monaghan farmer James Moffat saw eight bulls merit more than €11,000 stolen from his farm in Ballybay continue September.

Some of the animals had only been on his property for two days when they were boosted in an early-morning raid.

Two days later another six cattle were entranced from a farm in Corduff in a second theft, which left townsperson farmers living on edge.

The level of cattle rustling in the region led to the home up of a special investigation task force last year that covers the Garda, PSNI, Revenue and Customs, as well as their counter rts in Northern Ireland.

Also subsumed were officials from the De rtments of Agriculture and the Food Safety Establishment from both sides of the border.

Task force inquiries be suffering with stretched from counties Cavan and Monaghan to Donegal and included Roscommon and Longford, while also carry oning northwards to Tyrone and

Bert Stewart said the efforts by the authorities on both sides of the trim has curbed the activities of the rustlers, but there are still isolated cases.

“There play a joke on been a couple of prosecutions and the De rtment of Agriculture would be watching a unite of individuals very closely in conjunction with the guards, maybe that has supported,” he said.

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