The case of the Tyrone tractor-seat sniffer remains unsolved after two farmers in the Pomeroy area confirmed their own CCTV footage revealed a hooded elderly man sniffing the seats of a Massey Ferguson 231 diesel and 1992 Ford New Holland respectively late on Sunday night, half a mile apart.
This brings the total spottings to 188 since last summer, covering a wide area from Moortown in the extreme east of the county to Donemana near the Donegal border. The most recent victim, Kieran Grimes, admits he froze on the spot when he saw the shadowy figure sniffing away at the seat in the yard:
“I wasn’t convinced he existed until that moment I set eyes on him. I was thinking the other 100 or so farmers were taking the hand out of me. But it’s true bejaysus. He had a crooked back and was wearing a big dirty duffle coat and boiler suit bottoms and a wooly hat. Worst of all I could hear the sniffs. Big sniffs. I just froze. And he slipped away into the mist.”
PSNI say this is consistent with the other 187 sightings and warn farmers not to approach him. They quote the example of a Galbally vigilante farmer who ran at the phantom sniffer:
“Peader Tally made the mistake of confronting him before Christmas and regretted his bravery. The sniffer, described as probably in his 70s and with mad red eyes, pulled out a piece of blue piping and skelped Tally all about the legs. This man is dangerous. We’ll work something out.”
Local psychiatrist Marjorie Mullan maintains this is not a few phenomenon and that most farmers are addicted to the smell of tractor seats but usually keep to their own.