Northern Ireland

County Armagh farmer dies after tractor theft

Mr Whitcroft died at his farm near Derrynoose in County Armagh
Image caption Mr Whitcroft died at his farm near Derrynoose in County Armagh

An elderly farmer has died, apparently after suffering a heart attack while trying to confront thieves who were stealing his tractor.

Stuart Whitcroft, 86, died at his farm near Derrynoose in County Armagh in the early hours of Friday.

A gang had stolen a tractor, but were spotted by one of Mr Whitcroft's sons who jumped in his car and chased them down a network of minor roads.

Mr Whitcroft started to follow in his car but was later found dead in it.

It is believed he suffered a heart attack and crashed into some hedges.

The thieves confronted Mr Whitcroft's son after the chase and he got back into his car and left the scene.

They abandoned the stolen tractor.

DUP assembly member William Irwin said the thieves were the "low of the low" and were directly responsible for Mr Whitcroft's death.

"This can't be allowed to continue - robbery on top of robbery across the farming community," he said.

"Now we have an elderly farmer who has died as a result of a robbery."

Police said they were investigating both Mr Whitcroft's death and the theft of the tractor.