POLICE Scotland and partner agencies launched Rural Crime Action Week at Scott’s View in the Scottish Borders on Wednesday, September 21 2023.

Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) is a multi-agency partnership involving key organisations collectively working together to prevent, reduce and tackle rural crime, particularly from the ever-increasing threat posed by serious and organised crime throughout Scotland.

The NFU Mutual National Crime Report, 2023 ‘Countryside Unites against Rural Crime’, estimated that the cost of rural crime was £49.5 million. This marked a 22.1% increase in the cost of rural crime in 2022.

Deputy Local area Commander Inspector Robbie Noble said: “This week is the launch of the Rural Crime Action Week and what we are doing with this JCB is raising awareness and drawing attention to rural crime, particularly in the Scottish Borders which has a lot of farmland.

“We work very closely with our colleagues across Scotland and in the north east of England looking at travelling criminals passing through the region.

“It used to be mainly thefts of agricultural vehicles and the traditional thefts of quad bikes but recently we have seen an increase in the theft of GPS equipment.

“And it’s not just the value of replacing the equipment, it also means that farmers can’t work until it’s replaced.

“It’s about basic crime prevention advice such as removing keys from vehicles and removing GPS equipment at the end of the day.

“So I’d like to take this opportunity to urge people to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.”

Sergeant James Harrison of Galashiels Police Station said: “We are proud to be involved in this partnership and delighted that they chose the Scottish Borders as the location to launch the campaign.

“By working together, we can reduce opportunities for criminals.

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“The personal impact that becoming a victim of crime has, along with financial loss, can be devastating to people, particularly if farming equipment, fuel or livestock is targeted.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind the public to take simple safety measures to protect their property, vehicles, and livestock.

“I would encourage everyone to sign up to the Neighbourhood Watch scheme as it is a valuable source of information and alerts relating to local issues or speak to your local Community Police Officer."

“Please report any suspicious incidents or vehicles to Police Scotland on 101 (999 in an emergency) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Further information can be found here: https://scottishparc.co.uk/