Gardaí hunt for cattle rustlers who stole animals worth €15,000 from farm on Christmas Eve

Irish Gardaí have begun an investigation after a gang of cattle rustlers have struck again, stealing seven animals worth up to €15,000 from an unoccupied mountain farm near the Cork-Kerry border on Christmas Eve.

The latest theft is believed to have happened in the early hours of December 24th when thieves stole seven animals belonging to Ballyvourney farmer, Jack Corkery from an outside farm at Direenauling near the county bounds, eight kilometres from his home at Toonlane, Ballyvourney.

Mr Corkery’s daughter, Aine told The Irish Times they discovered the seven animals were missing when they went to check on them on Christmas Eve, having seen all animals present and nothing untoward when they visited the outside farm at around 6pm on December 23rd.

“My father went to check on them around 6pm on Friday and they were all fine but when he went back out on Saturday morning, he quickly spotted that seven animals were gone – a Five Star pedigree Angus bull, four in calf Aubrac cross cows and two weanling calves,” she said.

“He was keeping 42 animals out there and the animals that were all stolen were in the pen nearest the door, but there were other animals in the same pen, so they had a bit of sorting to do – the fact they stole weanling calves threw us – that’s hard to figure out but it’s like they were stealing to order.

“It’s very upsetting for my father – particularly the theft of the bull because he knew the animal well and knew his temperament – he knew when he was acting up and when to leave him alone – now he’s going to have to get a new bull and there’s no guarantee he will have the same temperament.”

The Corkerys have reported the theft to gardaí in Macroom but they have also made their own inquiries locally and have established that a jeep towing a three axle trailer went over the Top of Coom on the Cork-Kerry border, just beyond Cuil Aodha, around 2am on Saturday, December 24th.

“Everyone around is saying the three axle trailer spotted going over the Top of Coom would be able to take the amount of animals they took – we’ve checked with people in Kilgarvan and it doesn’t seem to have passed there so we reckon it came back on the Cork-Killarney Road at Loo Bridge.”

Gardaí say they suspect the Ballyvourney cattle thefts may be the work of same gang who stole eight cattle from an outside farm at Aughadown near Skibbereen in West Cork in mid-November when they again targeted an isolated unoccupied property.

On that occasion, the thieves made off with five Friesian heifers and three Aberdeen Angus bullocks from a slatted unit on the farm sometime between 6pm on Saturday, November 12th and 10am on Tuesday November 15th.

A garda source said: “It’s a very similar type of theft – it’s very brazen because they clearly had to do a recce beforehand, they couldn’t just pull up so they must have scouted the place out and had good local knowledge in terms of back roads to get in and out in Ballyvourney as they did in Aughadown.

“And they had to sort out the animals and pick the ones they wanted ... they must have some outlet for them because they clearly knew what animals they wanted and what ones they were leaving behind – it’s a mean crime and one that is making farmers very anxious about their herds.”