Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray is backing a scheme run by Police Scotland in conjunction with NFU Scotland to tackle agricultural crime in the region.
The Farm Watch scheme works by sharing alerts and crime prevention information relating specifically to farms and rural areas in Dumfries & Galloway in order to keep everyone on their toes.
Police Scotland and NFUS are encouraging as many farmers in the region as possible to join Farm Watch and to seek Police advice on farm security.
Rural crime is costing those who live and work in the Scottish countryside almost £2million a year, with the most common items targeted by thieves being quad bikes, tools and fuel.
Elaine met with members of NFUS and Police Scotland on Monday 8th May to discuss the impact of agricultural crime on business owners and the strategy for preventing rural thefts from taking place within the region.
Elaine said: “We cannot underestimate the devastating impact agricultural theft can have on farmers’ lives here in Dumfries & Galloway. Of course you have the initial blow to the business if valuable machinery or tools are stolen, but it’s also the knock on effect to the farm that people fail to recognise. The good news is that NFUS and Police Scotland are joining forces in order to tackle agricultural crime through the ‘Farm Watch’ scheme. With so many organised and opportunistic thieves in the area, it’s important we all work together to prevent these crimes from taking place in the first place. That’s why I’m happy to throw my weight behind ‘Farm Watch’ and I would encourage all farmers in the region to sign up to the scheme. Together we can put a stop to agricultural crime taking place in our region.”
Andrew Mccornick, NFU Scotland Vice President added: “We would encourage all our members across Dumfries and Galloway to sign up to Farm Watch and help lower the rural crime rates across the region. It is not just about the impact to our businesses but also the people - who are the victims of the crime. We need to be doing all we can to ensure that our countryside is a safe and secure environment for those living in it and also those visiting the area. We look forward to working with Police Scotland to drive this initiative forward and to seek other solutions to these issues.”