FOLLOWING a spike in rural crime in Fife, NFU Scotland and Police Scotland have reminded farmers to be extra cautious locking up their farm machinery and property.

Three tractors were stolen in the Fife area in early March – a significant increase over the last three months, which has prompted both organisations to issue a warning to farmers in the locality. Farmers are also being encouraged to show a united front to tackle rural crime and to help spread the word of any suspicious vehicles or activities they become aware of.

NFU Scotland East Central regional manager, Kate Maitland commented: “This spike in rural crime in the area is extremely worrying and the union is working closely with the local police to try to find a solution.

“Whether it’s the theft of machinery or livestock, or the deeply frustrating scourge of fly tipping, rural crime has a huge impact on its victims with the inconvenience and emotional costs almost impossible to fully quantify or cover,” she stressed.

“We are advising members in the area to be extra cautious when securing any vehicles, machinery and property when left unattended. This would include locking all appropriate doors and entrances, making sure all keys to vehicles are locked away and keeping all vehicles and machinery out of obvious sight,” she urged.

“Prevention is the best tool we have. The installation of even a basic security system, such as a motion-activated camera directed towards the fuel tank, can be enough to send the opportunistic criminal along the track.

“Social media also plays a huge part. The ability to share images and details of potentially suspicious activity has been utilised by many countryside dwellers,” she concluded.

Police Scotland’s PC Fraser Laird echoed her sentiments: “Police Scotland take rural crime very seriously. I would encourage anyone residing in a rural property to be especially vigilant and to report any suspicious incidents to the Police no matter how trivial you might think it might be,” he said.

“If you live in Fife and are concerned about the security of your property or would like some advice on CCTV, alarms or just general security advice please contact me directly on 01383 318745 for a free crime prevention survey,” he added. “Sometimes making small changes which do not have to cost a great deal of money can significantly reduce the chances of you becoming a victim of crime.”