The public are being asked to supply information anonymously about rural crime in Scotland as part of a new campaign run by charity Crimestoppers.
The ‘Scene it Herd it’ initiative aims to highlight the types of crimes rural communities face and encourage the public to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Scottish countryside.
Of the crime committed in Scotland, 94 per cent is classified as rural and the NFU Mutual Insurance Society estimates that rural crime costs Scotland around £1.8 million annually, with levels reportedly increasing.
The main crimes rural businesses and communities face are theft involving vehicles, machinery, equipment, metal, fuel and livestock; break-ins to farms, homes and business premises; vandalism to property and crops; crimes against livestock and other protected animals, including livestock worrying by dogs; illegal waste sites and dumping.
The campaign will see information postcards posted to 60,000 rural households followed by a social media campaign.
During the summer, Crimestoppers will also promote the campaign at outdoor events including fetes, gala days and the Royal Highland Show. Partners will be equipped with ‘Scene it Herd It’ banners, postcards, pop-ups and digital resources.
Angela Parker, Crimestoppers’ national manager, said: “People have an image that living in the countryside is idyllic and crime-free.
“But householders and businesses can be a target, as many properties are isolated. In small places people usually know each other and may fear retribution or having to make a statement, be a witness or go to court. Crimestoppers’ guarantee of anonymity removes this fear and no-one will ever know you called.”
Chief Superintendent Gavin Robertson, chairman of the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) said the organisation has been working closely with Crimestoppers on the project.
He continued: “I would encourage people to come forward with information and not to assume that it is insignificant or known to us already.
“Information received from Crimestoppers will be combined with intelligence from other sources to build a more detailed picture of rural crime in Scotland, driving further focused prevention, investigation and enforcement activity by SPARC, Police Scotland, our partners and Scotland’s rural communities.”
Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.