Local MLA Robin Swann has thrown down the gauntlet to the Alliance Justice Minister, urging him “to get the gloves off and get tough on organized rural crime”.
Mr Swann stated that the Minister needs “to get a hands-on grip of rural crime” and that “farmers need positive action, not empty phrases”.
He said: “I am bitterly disappointed that the Alliance Justice Minister has had no specific discussions on tackling organised rural crime, which is currently crippling many farmers.”
Mr Swann had specifically asked the Minister to detail discussions he has had with the National Crime Agency on tackling serious and organised crime to combat the threat posed by rural crime gangs.
The Minister responded that “organised crime is not divided into urban and rural, so I have had no specific discussions about rural organised crime”.
He added: “The threats and priorities that are being addressed are set out in the Annual Report and Threat Assessment 2015 and the related Organised Crime Strategy, both of which are published.”