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Police Warn of Criminals Targeting Farmlands

Police in Highland Perthshire are warning local people of criminals targeting rural communities and farmland.

Tayside Police are suggesting tips to help keep property across Highland Perthshire safe from thieves, such as parking cars out of sight, in front of doors and access as well as locking vehicles with clamps and posts.

Chief inspector Graham Binnie said: “Reduce access by removing all gates and entrances that are no longer in use and replacing them with a permanent fence or other barrier; secure all gates with good padlocks and repair fencing promptly to prevent/restrict any future unauthorised access.

“Mark or customise your property so that it’s easily identifiable. This can deter thieves and assist recovery if they are stolen. CESAR is the nationally recognised marking scheme and vehicles in the scheme are 4 times less likely to be stolen and 6 times more likely to be identified. This can have a beneficial impact on your insurance premiums.”

Farming equipment appears to be a premium target for criminals who are stealing quad bikes, tools and machinery.

Writing in the Union’s membership magazine, Inspector Alan Dron, Police Scotland’s National Rural Crime Co-ordinator stated: “Criminals are getting more intuitive and using smarter technology to carry out crimes, so any steps farmers, crofters and small holders can take to protect their property will help.  

“Some criminals are using drones, Google Earth as well as more traditional drive-bys to check where security cameras, vehicles and machinery are stored, and spot if people are working on the farm or around buildings.  They can relay this information to their partners on the ground and be in and out of a location without being noticed.

“Despite this and thanks to many farmers, crofters and smallholders already taking steps to protect their property, Police Scotland are managing to retrieve more and more stolen agricultural vehicles, plant and quads due to many businesses investing in smart technology, security and trackers to protect their property.

“Currently the popular targets are quads, trailers and tractors.  There’s a market for them but sadly don’t be fooled into thinking lightning doesn’t strike twice.  Quite often the thieves can return a few weeks after the initial incident as they know there will be a new replacement vehicle on site that is there for the taking.  We do record several repeat offenses.

More information to keep your property safe can be found on: http://www.ruralwatchscotland.co.uk/

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