Rustlers stealing sheep from Mid Ulster’s farms are having a “devastating impact” on farm families, Ulster Farmers’ Union deputy president Ivor Ferguson has said.
In the latest incident 32 lambs were stolen from lands on the Maghera Road outside Tobermore.
It followed similar thefts of livestock from lands at Cookstown, Draperstown, and Moneymore over the summer.
Back in July, a Cookstown farmer suffered the loss 51 prize-winning sheep - valued at around £35,000 - when they were stolen from a field at Lough Fea.
Mr Ferguson said the thefts affected a farmer’s livelihood and can leave a lasting impact on the families who fall victim.
The PSNI have renewed their appeal for rural communities to be viligant and for anyone with useful information to contact them. The UFU deputy president said rural crime has for many years proven an extremely difficult issue to find solutions to and it remains a major issue for farmers.
There are a number of simple things farmers can do to protect their livestock, machinery and equipment.
These include reporting all incidences of theft and any suspicious behaviour to the PSNI; ensuring premises are well lit; and gates and doors are securely locked.
Mr Ferguson urged farmers to make use of their local PSNI crime prevention officer, who can help to identify ways to protect property, livestock, machinery and equipment.
The UFU acknowledge there is no quick fix to the issue of rural crime.
Mr Ferguson added: “The UFU will continue to work with stakeholders to come up with effective methods of crime prevention.
“I would urge farmers to be proactive in tackling crime, if you see suspicious behaviour or vehicles, please contact the PSNI as soon as possible on 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.”