AN INTERACTIVE farm security event ‘Lock, Stock and Barrel’ is to provide members of the Ayrshire farming community with a morning of information on farm security and safety issues next week.

The Ayrshire Partnership Against Rural Crime is hosting the free event at Hill Farm, Cumnock, on Wednesday, February 19, courtesy of W and J Mair.

Rural crime is costing the community an estimated £1.9 million every year and a recent spate of machinery thefts in Lanarkshire saw three farms lose over £400,000 worth of equipment overnight.

A range of issues impacting the rural community will be covered on the day, including fly tipping, livestock security and protection, farm equipment and safety, as well as sheep worrying.

As an interactive event for those in attendance, there will be an opportunity for individuals to discuss key issues, and one exercise will involve conducting a farm safety survey on the host farm.

There will be excellent speakers throughout, and one session will involve information on how to approach dog walkers on your land, focussing on how important careful communication can be in ensuring the best outcome for your business.

East Ayrshire Rural Crime Operational Lead, Sgt Ian Harvey, said: “Police Scotland is committed to tackling crime and keeping people safe in all sectors of our communities. This includes crimes affecting the rural community.

“The event is open to all members of the farming community and we want to urge as many as possible to attend. Machinery theft is a major concern to farmers and contractors and given the recent thefts in Lanarkshire at the end of January, it is so important that businesses know more about the steps they can take to safeguard their farms.

“We will also be covering issues such as road safety and the importance of being visible, as well as the basic do’s and don’ts.”

APARC has not only been looking at ways to inform the farming community but also recently held a successful training event, also at Hill Farm, where road policing officers learnt how to spot whether a tractor has been stolen and were given instruction on agricultural equipment.

Chair of APARC and farmer Alan Thom from Kirkmichael added: “Since the APARC partnership was formed 12 months ago, we are very pleased to see that the current figures for rural crime in Ayrshire are on the decline. Working with Police Scotland and other agencies has encouraged more reporting of suspicious activity and crimes.

“The event at Hill Farm will be a practical day to help those in rural areas to protect themselves and their property and demonstrate the steps that can be taken to discourage crimes such as fly tipping, theft and livestock worrying from happening in our beautiful and peaceful Ayrshire countryside.”

The event will run between 10am and 2.30pm. To book a place, call 0131 472 4000 or text “Hill” to 07775 838926 or email