CATTLE thieves raided a local farm at the weekend, costing the devastated owner more than €20,000.
The raiders made off with 15 cattle from land near Ballyroan, including 11 valuable animals that were ready for slaughter.
The theft was discovered at about 8am yesterday (Monday) morning, when the livestock owner and another man called to the out-farm. They were shocked to find the gate wide open and all 15 animals gone from a slatted shed.
Describing the loss as a terrible shock, the farmer said: “Times are bad enough without this happening. We knew the minute we drove up that they had been taken. The cattle ready for slaughter were worth about €20,000 alone, so it’s a big loss. It’s a devastating blow.”
The cattle were stolen from land in the Ballyeagle area some time between 5pm on Saturday and 8am on Monday, most likely during hours of darkness on either Saturday night or Sunday night.
All Continental breed, the cattle were housed in two separate pens in a slatted shed. One pen contained 11 animals ready for slaughter, while the second contained four store cattle. The culprits would have required a truck to remove the herd from the farm, which is in a relatively isolated area and has three access roads.
The farmer immediately reported the theft to Abbeyleix gardaí and has made a statement. As gardaí investigate the raid, neighbouring farmers are checking roadside CCTV footage in the hope of identifying the raiders’ vehicle.
The farmer, who does not wish to be named, said he has kept cattle on the Ballyeagle land for about 30 years and this is the first time it has been targeted by thieves.
Community alert groups have sent out messages appealing for information that could help track down the culprits. The farmer hopes someone may come forward with information that could help identify the thieves, who probably plan to sell the cattle on as quickly as possible. He said: “Unfortunately, the cattle could be anywhere by now, or they could be killed already.”
Anyone who spotted an unfamiliar truck in the Ballyroan area over the weekend, or who saw anything suspicious that could help the garda investigation is asked to contact Abbeyleix gardaí on 057 8730580 or any garda station.