FARMERS were urged yesterday to be vigilant following reports in Britain of a dramatic rise in the theft from farms of low-tax red diesel used for tractors and other agricultural machinery.
Labour Party agriculture spokesperson, Sean Sherlock, TD, said leading insurers of farmers and rural enterprises in Britain have reported that claims for stolen red diesel are up 30% in the first five months of the year.
“While there are no reports of similar thefts here, newspaper and media reports of British incidences may spark copy-cat thefts here in Ireland.
“While farmers are always vigilant, there are risks for those farmers who farm and keep machinery away from their homesteads.
“Increased visibility by gardaí in more remote areas of the country will do much to cut down risks of similar incidences occurring here,” he said.
Soaring fuel costs are being blamed for the growing level of red diesel thefts across Britain by criminal gangs.
Tim Price, spokesman for NFU Mutual, which handles the bulk of insurance claims for British rural-based companies and farm enterprises, said: “Farmers have improved security on their tanks, but we’ve now seen an increase in thefts, perhaps not surprisingly in view of the oil price increases,” he said.
Fuel thieves have been stealing the cheap diesel apparently for themselves, but also to sell on the black market.
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