Gardaí in Co Limerick have launched a new text alert system which specifically allows drivers from a fleet of signed-up companies to report any suspicious activity they may witness in rural areas.
The pilot project at Bruff Garda Station involves drivers employed by Dairygold, Tipperary Co-Op and Kerrygold.
The system, created in conjunction with the companies and Muintire Na Tire, will be reviewed in six months' time.
The pilot text alert project will allow Gardaí to send out a text alert to the truck drivers involved, to make them aware of any other reported suspicious they may receive or see themselves.
Bruff Garda Superintendent Brian Sugrue said the aim is to help prevent rural crime.
“It asks that, when safe to do so, truck drivers call us if they notice anything suspicious," he said.
"Having spoken to the Irish Farmers Association in Limerick, this is a welcomed initiative to assist in preventing crime and enhancing the quality of life for our farming community who work and reside within the Bruff and Newcastle West Districts."
Bruff Garda David Hennessy, who developed the initiative said there are more than 50 drivers signed up between the three co-ops involved. He came up with the idea after a truck driver assisted him in investigating the theft of a farmer’s quad bike.
“In 2017, I dealt with an incident where a farmer had a quad bike stolen during the night. A truck driver came across the incident and contacted us immediately,” Gda Hennessy said.
“The quad bike was recovered by Gardaí before the farmer even knew it went missing.
“These truck drivers have extensive local knowledge and visit rural locations at unsocial times. The assistance that we will receive from our local businesses will hopefully provide us with another valuable tool in making our communities a safer place.”
Gda Hennessy said that when he is out on patrol at night the only other people he would see are truck drivers, at about 3am or 4am.
"Our stats show that’s when the highest rates of crime occur in the Bruff and Limerick area in general," he said.
There is between a 15% and 20% higher chance of burglaries at night time. From October to the end of March there is always a spike in criminal activity at night time in rural areas.