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‘Everything is gone’


CAPTURED ON CAMERA CCTV footage from Knockmore village capturing the van suspected of being involved in the theft of 28,000 of farm equipment on January 2.

Anton McNulty

A KNOCKMORE farmer had €8,000 worth of farm equipment stolen from his yard while he away from his home for only a few hours over the New Year.
An eight x four foot Nugent mesh-sided trailer along with a sheep paneling unit with 30 sheep gates, an electronic weighing scales, foot-baths, a power washer and electronic tools were stolen from the farm yard of Knockmore farmer, John McHale on the evening of Sunday, January 2.
John believes the theft took place some time after 7pm while he was visiting his sister at her home. He returned home around 12.30am to find the gates of the yard open and discovered the equipment stolen.
CCTV footage from Knockmore village showed a light blue Ford Transit van pulling John’s trailer with the stolen equipment going through the village around 9.30pm.
Despite information being widely shared on social media in the days after the theft, there has been no sign of any of John’s equipment.
Speaking to The Mayo News, John said he has been left devastated by the theft and the loss of the equipment has impacted on what he can do on the farm.
“It is devastating, you build up everything over a period of time and it is gone, everything is gone. I am only after realising how important the unit was until now because you cannot control animals at all. I am trying to do work and I cannot do it. I don’t have a trailer which was ideal for running around and now you can’t do nothing.
“I suspect they knew about my yard and someone knew where it was because you can’t see it all from the road. My house is a bit away from the yard and they knew I wasn’t at home or they took a chance but I suspect they knew I wasn’t at home. It is hard to know if they were awful lucky or awful brazen and I still don’t know what it is.
“When they left the yard, they left the gates ajar. I went in to find everything gone and it was an awful shock. They loaded the whole yard into the trailer and that is an awkward thing to do because it’s bulky,” he said.

No sightings
There has been no concrete sightings of the van since it was captured on CCTV but it is believed that it travelled in the direction of Killala. John thanked all the local businesses and organisations for highlighting the theft.
Since the incident, John has heard of similar farm yard thefts in the north Mayo area including the theft of sheep. He asked people to be aware of these items being offered for sale and to contact Ballina Garda Station if they have any information.
“The equipment is very valuable and very unique because it is a Ritchie branded unit which would be unusual enough around here. I have been building up the set for a while which included an electronic weighing scales which is very valuable. It would have taken a while for them [thieves] to dismantle it, but everything in the yard is gone even the two foot-baths, they were really determined.
“They [thieves] are supposed to have gone in the Killala direction and the clattering and the banging of the unit in the trailer would be enough to wake up the village.
“They [farm equipment] are very distinctive and would be easily identified but I don’t know if they will keep them for themselves or try to sell them on.”
Anyone with any information on the theft is asked to contact Ballina Garda Station on 096 20560.