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Get orf the air over moi land Irish farmer roars at drones

Pledges to eradicate drone burglary threat by 'any means necessary'

Ireland and Great Britain map, image via Shutterstock

A farmer in County Tipperary has declared war on drones, claiming criminals are using the buzz-some devices to scope out rural areas for burglaries.

Robert O’Shea, from near Thurles, launched his broadside after Irish police declared that shooting at drones was illegal, the Irish Independent reported.

"Gun licences are granted under strict conditions which do not include shooting down aircraft, and as drones are technically considered aircraft, I would caution anyone against shooting at drones," Sligo/Leitrim Division Chief Superintendent, Michael Clancy, told a meeting of the country’s Joint Police Committee.

However, according to O’Shea, criminals are using drones to case rural outposts, prior to raiding them.

O’Shea said his own area had been plagued by drone-led larrikins, with his son noting a drone hovering over a nearby garage, that was subsequently robbed.

"What's happening is criminals are sitting in a car up to half a mile from where the drone is operating, guiding it back then downloading the photographs it has taken of a farmer's yard and identifying not only where machinery is stored, but also the entry and exit routes so they can be in and out quickly."

O’Shea said the phenomenon was happening across the country, and he’d received reports from Cashel, and “a woman from Limerick”.

As a member of a support group for victims of crime, O’Shea was at pains to point out that he and his fellow farmers had no urge to do anything illegal, before adding, "I fully appreciate what that garda said, but most definitely if I see a drone which I feel is invading my privacy, I will take it down by whatever means necessary."

It’s easy to forget just how, well, empty, much of Ireland is, with just 68 souls per square kilometer, compared to the UK’s 268 or indeed, Macau’s 21,000.

County Tipperary has a density of just 37.2, meaning that while you’re at Thurles, you may not be that far away from Tipperary but you’re possibly quite a long way from anyone else - except a drone controlling crim obviously.

So it’s no wonder rural dwellers are deeply concerned about the threat of burglars - invariably blow-ins from the country’s larger connurbations, in the rural imagination.

At the same time, the country is pushing ahead with authorised drone deliveries. The first official drop recently took an emergency medical kit to a boat just off Dublin. Pizza, inevitably, is not far behind. Though whether rugged individualists like O’Shea are prepared to compromise their security for the chance of a more varied takeaway diet, is a question, very literally, up in the air. ®

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