Mayo-based former detective's GPS tracker counters rustling of farm animals

By Tom Gillespie

A RETIRED detective garda has devised a GPS tracker system aimed at preventing the larceny of livestock in the farming community.

Pat Shannon of Covert Detective Agency (CDA) had been concentrating on insurance fraud until the Covid-19 outbreak.

When sheep prices rose there was an increase nationally of sheep theft and Mayo-based Pat was asked to submit a proposal to counter the growing rustling problem.

Pat took up the story: "I retired from An Garda Síochána in September 2017 after 31 years, 25 years as a detective.

"Two years ago I was requested to carry out inquiries into suspect insurance fraud.

"To legally carry out investigation work I had to register a company with the Private Security Authority (PSA). Once registered my work was investigating suspect insurance fraud, assisted in service of court documents, and I worked for a number of solicitors."

He continued: "Trends change in work, especially when the likes of Covid-19 arrived.

"Recently I was asked to carry out research into what can be done to assist in the prevention of sheep theft. With sheep prices on the up there has been an increase in the theft of sheep nationally.

"I have looked at using new technology to monitor the movement of livestock. What I have come up with is fitting a small satellite GPS tracker to farm animals which allow live updates to the location of the animal that it is fitted to.

"The number of trackers fitted will depend on the amount of animals and their location. Monitoring is done from your mobile phone, tablet or laptop.

"The device also allows for a geo-fence to be set up, so if the tagged animal leaves or is removed from the safe area the device will set off an alarm.

"When the alarm activities the tracker then allows real time tracking of the animal. This information then can be passed to gardaí, and hopefully they will intercept the thefts.

"I am glad to say the satellite GPS trackers and the software are sourced here in the west of Ireland. The battery life is on average three months and is a standard triple AAA. No sim card is required.

"It is something I never thought I would look in to. Sheep stealing is big business out there. It's going on all over the place."

Pat added: "There is no guarantee that this will stop the theft of sheep and cattle but it increases the odds of prevention and ups the chances of detection if stock is stolen. I also recommend placing a sign on the gate stating 'Satellite GPS tracking on livestock in operation'."

CDA also offers two key services - private investigators duties and professional reference checking for employers.

Offering its clients over 30 years of investigative experience in law enforcement, CDA gives clients peace of mind that they are in safe hands.

Pat concluded: "Experience, knowledge and the necessary resources are key factors in a successful investigation. With vast experience in active criminal investigations, intelligence duties and surveillance, CDA meets these requirements."

Covert Detective Agency can be contacted on (087) 2458761 or email

* Do you have a story to tell about your business? If so, Tom Gillespie would be delighted to hear from you. Get in touch at (087) 9680780 or email