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Rural crime falls by 34% in north-east

Farmer, Robbie Wilson. 
Picture by Jim Irvine.
Farmer, Robbie Wilson. Picture by Jim Irvine.

More than £245,000 worth of quad bikes, tractors, trailers and diggers have been stolen from farms across Grampian over the last four years.

Thieves have made off with 60 vehicles – which police have tracked down as far away as Glasgow, Merseyside and Lithuania.

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About £127,605 worth of livestock was also taken in that time period, with just £21,750 recovered safely.

But today police reassured the farming community that rural crimes have actually reduced over the last three years, with a 34% fall in incidents.

The figures, released today to coincide with the launch of the North East Scotland Rural Crime and Safety Partnership, also show a 10.5% increase in rural crime detection rates and a 32% reduction in wildlife crime in the same period.

The partnership, which includes more than 20 partners involved in rural affairs, aims to tackle rural and remote crime in the north-east.

Hare-coursing remains the most prolific wildlife crime in the region, although incidents were down 80% last year.

Along with the £127,605 worth of livestock that was taken, more than 60 vehicles worth £245,119 were stolen including 25 quad bikes, 15 tractors, 12 trailers, five diggers and three forklifts.

Detective Superintendent Murray Main, who is chairman of the new partnership, hailed the progress made but said more needed to be done to detect and prevent crime.

“It is important we collectively listen, understand and respond to what matters the most to our communities whether they are city, urban, rural or remote,” he said.

“The standard of policing, for example, cannot and will not be defined by location but must be agile enough to adapt to different locations.”

He said a new strategy, focused on prevention, intelligence, enforcement and reassurance, would drive forward the work of the partnership.

Councillor Anne Stirling, chairwoman of Aberdeenshire Council’s communities committee, welcomed the partnership launch and said: “The expertise and willingness of everyone involved to play their part in making the region an even safer place to live will safeguard our communities for years to come.”

Lorna Paterson, regional manager for the north-east at farmers’ union NFU Scotland (NFUS), said: “Thefts of vehicles, tools and livestock are prevalent in our region. And the increase in livestock worrying cases is equally concerning.

“NFUS has been working with Police Scotland and other stakeholders in the region, sharing knowledge and building upon intelligence, with a view to mitigating this trend.”

Pedigree sheep breeder Robbie Wilson, of North Dorlaithers Farm near Turriff, said he was pleased efforts were being made to educate the public about rural crimes, such as allowing dogs to roam in fields with sheep.

He said: “I don’t think people are aware of what the rules are.”

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