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Public Urged to Speak Up to Prevent Harm to Scotland’s Countryside

Monica McGinley, from Network Rail and Inspector Alan Dron, from SPARC (Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime).

With international tourist season once again on the horizon following years of pandemic restrictions, a new campaign has been launched to encourage people to speak up about those causing harm and damage to Scotland’s countryside and their vital communities.

The charity Crimestoppers, in partnership with Network Rail, is independent of the police which gives the public an alternative to pass on what they know about any crime while remaining anonymous.

With many people planning trips to the countryside the impact of large groups of visitors and effects of rural crime can take its toll on the environment.

Angela Parker, National Manager for Crimestoppers Scotland, said: “Many of us will be enjoying the stunning scenery, events and activities Scotland has to offer.

“Our campaign is encouraging the public to be aware of the harm rural crime and anti-social behaviour can inflict on the environment and the economy, from heritage crime to wilful fire-raising and theft, these crimes often go unreported and can ruin lives, livelihoods and the rural environment.”

Some of the crimes that Scotland’s rural areas can face include fly-tipping and industrial waste dumping, theft of farm equipment- vehicles and machinery and housebreaking.

Over 95% of Scotland is classed as rural and NFU Mutual estimate that rural crime costs Scotland around £1.8 million annually.

Allan Brooking, Community Safety Manager for Network Rail Scotland, said: “Scotland’s Railway plays a vital role in connecting people with communities and attractions across the country.

“So, it’s hugely important to us to help our partners protect rural areas from crime.”

The volume of crime in rural areas tends to be lower than urban areas, however the lasting damage has a much deeper impact on both the victim and community.

To get in touch with Crimestoppers the telephone number and website are as follows; 0800 555 111 and crimestoppers-uk.org.

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