Farmers 'arming themselves' to defend property against burglars

Farmers 'arming themselves' to defend property against burglars

Farmers are "arming themselves" to protect their property as the fear of rural crime grows around the country.

Macra na Feirme recently reported that 80% of young farmers want the right to own a gun, while an Agriland survey reveals that 39% of farmers have been directly affected by crime.

Cork-based solicitor Karen Walsh, author of 'Farming and the Law', said that although laws on protection of property have been strengthened since 2011, she would still advise caution.

"Ultimately, if you're attempting to rely on the Acts, you're in front of a court, and in front of a judge and jury," she said.

"They will assess, number one, was the person coming into your property was a trespasser, and it was their intention to commit a crime, and whether or not you behaved reasonably.

"So my advice would be: if you can at all, retreat from the trespasser and try to not put yourself in that position where you have to rely on the Acts."

However, Sgt Kelvin Courtney from the National Crime Prevention Unit has said that the overall number of burglaries has fallen this year.

"We're asking people to lock up and light up to reduce the number of burglaries," he said.

"We can record actually that burglaries have fallen this year, they're down by almost a third nationally, because people are beginning to lock up and light up their homes.

"It's a simple act but one in five burglaries last year, the burglar simply walked through an open door or climbed through an open window.

"If we only got that much reduced, it would have a dramatic effect on the number of burglaries that are happening."

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