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North-east farmers urged to be vigilant after thefts

By Kyle Ritchie

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Farmers are being urged to be on alert following a number of thefts from farm outbuildings in the Banff and Peterhead areas.

With the dark nights now here thieves are targeting rural properties where they know high value items are often kept.

Police have urged farmers to ensure their buildings and land have the most up-to-date security to protect from theft.

Police Scotland has urged farmers to be on alert to thieves targeting their properties.
Police Scotland has urged farmers to be on alert to thieves targeting their properties.

North East Division crime reduction officer PC Richard Russell said: “With dark nights upon us it provides further opportunities for thieves to target farms and steadings knowing high value items are often kept on the premises.

“I ask farmers to consider how a thief may enter your site and how easy it might be for them to gain entry to your buildings and vehicles.

"Discourage a thief from approaching your premises by closing and locking yard gates. Ensure adequate lighting covers the yard and doors to outbuildings.

"A number of security devices are now on the market which alert and relay live footage of your CCTV to your mobile phone.

“Store portable tools such as chainsaws, jet washers and welders in a secure locked cage where possible and ensure any padlocks or chains are of good quality.

"Thieves might be reluctant to use power tools to cut open heavy locks due to noise created and something that takes time to remove will also act as a deterrent.

"Farmers are busy individuals who work long hours but it is important to have a daily routine of locking outbuildings and securing vehicles at the end of each day. Be more controlling over keys, where they are kept and who has access to them.

"Speak to your neighbours and encourage each other to report any suspicious activity. If something feels not quite right – it probably isn’t.

“I would encourage people living and working in rural communities to sign up to receive crime alerts in their area by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Alert scheme.”

This messaging system is not for reporting crime as responses are not monitored 24/7.

In an emergency, call 999. Anyone who has time-critical information regarding a crime, or if they wish to report any other non-urgent matter, can call 101.

National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) north-east regional chairman Andrew Connon also called on local farmers to ensure they keep farm vehicles and buildings secure and locked wherever possible.

He added: “Also, please look out for suspicious vehicles or people and report to Police Scotland on 101 as soon as possible.

“If there is suspicious activity, then please let NFUS regional manager Lorna Paterson know so that we can use text messaging and social media to alert other members in the area.

"We need to work together to minimise and reduce local rural crime.”

Police Scotland's North East Division covers rural and urban areas in Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City. The division has five territorial command areas which have their own dedicated area commander, who is responsible for the daily policing function.

Each command area is served by a number of community policing teams whose activities are built around the needs of the local area. These teams respond to calls and look for long-term solutions to key issues.

They are assisted by the division's Crime Reduction Unit who deliver against force and local priorities in a number of areas, including physical and social crime prevention, supporting and enhancing community engagement and creating and sustaining strong and effective partnership working.

Further security advice can be found on the Police Scotland website

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