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.
Residents across Tyrone last night were prompted into getting heavy coats out and putting them onto beds as the temperature plummeted to as low as minus 4 degrees Centigrade in some parts of the County.
Donkey jackets, duffle coats, boiler suits, dressing gowns, overcoats, monkey hats and other outerwear were all hurriedly thrown onto beds, as faulty electric blankets were dug out of attics and hastily re-wired.
Local housewife and serial complainer Alison Brennan from Mountfield said,
“Jays, it was baltic. I don’t know how many blankets and coats we had on the bed but I could have survived a gunshot. You’ve no idea how cold this house is. I went out to the sales this morning and bought 14 more duffle coats for the beds. My husband told me to sit by the fire, but there’s not much point in that unless he’s going to light the feckin’ thing. Tight-fisted eejit”.
“I knew we were going to be in trouble when I was in Greencastle last night to get some wheaten, and the young lasses were out in what they call their ‘overcoats’. Or to give it its proper name, glitter spray”.
Others were faced with the prospect of having to have the central heating on all day.
“Have you seen the price of oil?” complained a man from Trillick, who preferred to remain anonymous. “We’re racing through the stuff. Christ, it was only the end of November since I siphoned 500 gallons of it from them ‘uns down the road. Now I’m going to have to do it all over again. It’s beyond a joke, it really is”.
Elsewhere, the roads were causing driving difficulties. Local PSNI Chief Inspector John Quinn said,
“The roads are like a bottle. People shouldn’t be out driving in this weather, and if they are they need to act responsibly. We were in Tesco car park last night trying to doing doughnuts in the panda car and it was almost impossible. Car was sliding all over the place. People should stay in”.
It has also been reported that 44 youngsters have been clipped around the ear over the holidays for leaving the immersion on for more than three hours after the water was used.
The cold weather continues.