Regional

Thieves rob St Ann farmer of cattle worth over $1m

By KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, December 11, 2017

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A St Ann cattle farmer has lost over $1 million in livestock due theft over the past three months.

Eric Jaggon, owner of Leyford Farm in Golden Grove in the parish, told the Jamaica Observer North & East that the larceny started when a private road leading to his farm was opened to China Harbour Engineering Company (CHECH) workers to give easier access to the highway which runs to Mammee Bay.

“They have driving access in the nights to come in because we used to close the main gate at nights and open dem in the morning, but since this likkle road put in to go to them toll booth, it's access fi everybody,” Jaggon, who has been in the business for six years, explained.

He said that he has lost 16 animals, the minimum value of one being $70,000, since September. He is insisting that the road be closed to prevent further theft of his animals.

“When we lock it, I keep a key and give the toll road people a key. So we are in the process of doing that now,” he shared.

The man said that within the last three months he has lost animals “every two to three weeks”.

He mentioned that the animals are normally stolen between Friday and Wednesday nights, and added that the last robbery occurred on November 25 between the hours of 12:00 am and 1:00 am.

“The man that is there, he heard the calves bawling and the same road there I told you about, him see someone leading dem there. If you multiply that 16 by the $70,000 a one you will see; take out your calculator. I have another farm, which is the Belmont Farm, three miles from here and it's the same problem. Between the two farms we have 230 heads of cattle,” he shared.

Jaggon said he lost five animals to thieves over the last six months at the Belmont Farm. He told Observer North & East that he is only continuing because he has the land and does not want it to go to waste or for the eight community members he employs to become jobless.

“It's a love and it's a way to earn, but it's coming to a time now when you don't know what to do. We need help. We need help. The heads of the praedial larceny unit, we need help from them now. It's not me alone. We have several farmers who are suffering,” Jaggon disclosed.

He added: “We're trying to survive with the rest that we have, but we need help from the praedial larceny authority. When they steal dem we report it, but you know what happen? Dem gone wid dem already. Dem investigate, but it never goes any further until the next time. Dem don't even have any vehicle.”

He explained that the tagging system was introduced to assist with praedial larceny but said that it is effective only if criminals are caught with the animals and cannot account for having them in their possession.

“They claim that if they stole these cows and anywhere they travel with them they are going to find them, and that is why they have numbers. But all my animals are branded with EJ because that is better to me,” he said.

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