Farmers advised how to tackle rural crime

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Farmers across Ayrshire farmers have been given advice on how to tackle the blight of rural crime.

Local police officers and NFU Scotland regional ranager, Christine Cuthbertson met with farmers at Craig Wilson Auction Market in Ayr to discuss Ayrshire Rural Watch, farm security and crime concerns as well as regulations governing the licensing of firearms.

Following the event, PC Graeme Gordon, who heads up Ayrshire Rural Watch said: “It was great to return to the auction market and speak with existing members of Rural Watch and sign up new members from the farming community.

“The more eyes and ears we have in rural areas the better.”

David Hastings, Firearms Enquiry Officer added: “It was worthwhile attending and speaking with the farmers face to face on licensing firearms and any problems they may have.”

NFUS Regional Manager Christine Cuthbertson said: “There was super interaction between the officers and farmers attending the cattle sale.

“Rural crime remains a big problem for those who live and work in the country so it was very helpful for our members to discuss issues with the police on an informal basis.

“Many farm businesses still keep shotguns or rifles for pest control purposes or for shooting wild game and today also helped raise awareness about current firearms licensing requirements.”

Criminals generally target isolated areas and hard-to-protect buildings looking for easily-sold items such as metal as well as gardening and agricultural machinery.

According to the latest data from insurer NFU Mutual, the cost of crime to the UK’s rural economy reached £44.5m in 2013.

This was up 5.2 per cent on the 2012 figures, reversing the fall of the previous year.