Mystery surrounds the robbery of 200 sheep in Rathangan early this month, which has been described as Kildare’s biggest ever livestock theft.
Some 200 of the animals, with a value of more than €13,000, were taken from a pen in a field in the Demesne area of Rathangan.
A Mayo farmer agreed to sell his livestock and met with a fellow ‘farmer’ at the Curragh on the evening of November 3 last.
He was directed to a location in Rathangan where his 200 sheep were transferred into a pen. The next day when the Mayo farmer sought payment, the sheep had vanished.
“This farmer is devastated that his livestock was stolen. We are appealing for witnesses who noticed anything suspicious during the hours of 8pm and 8am on the days of November 3 and 4 to contact Rathangan Garda Station,” said Sgt Paul Reilly.
The culprit is described as mid-40s, stocky, clean-shaven, with sandy hair going grey and a rough accent.
Sgt Reilly also appealed to local butchers and abattoirs not to accept unregistered meat and to contact local gardai immediately if approached. It is understood the theft may be part of a highly-organised criminal gang running a black market in meat.
The theft has caused great concern in the farming community in Kildare. According to the Irish Farmer’s Association’s (IFA) Sheep Representative for Kildare/West Wicklow, it is one of Kildare’s biggest ever livestock theft. “It is out of the blue this type of theft. Farmers need to be aware of buyers like that and to never ever let sheep leave the yard unless payment is given beforehand,” said representative John Murphy.
- Lisa Deeney