As many of Scotland’s small producers are no doubt aware, the effects of rural crime can be devastating to the environment.
Now, with lockdown restrictions easing across Scotland and many people planning trips to the great outdoors, independent charity Crimestoppers in partnership with Network Rail has launched a campaign encouraging the public to speak up about people responsible for harming Scotland’s countryside.
Over 95% of Scotland is classed as rural and NFU Mutual estimate that rural crime costs Scotland around £1.8m annually, with levels reportedly increasing.
Crimestoppers together with Police Scotland and wider rural and environmental organisations are asking the public to spot the signs of rural crime and give information 100% anonymously.
The key crimes that Scotland’s rural areas experience are:
- Theft of farm equipment, vehicles and machinery
- Livestock-related crimes: theft and dog attacks
- Fly-tipping and industrial waste dumping
- Hare coursing and badger baiting
- Fuel theft – domestic and commercial
- Heritage and cultural property crime including illegal metal detecting
- Wildlife crime
- Wilful fire-raising.
Postcards and posters will be shared across Scotland, coupled with a social media campaign highlighting the key crimes affecting rural areas.
Angela Parker, National Manager for Crimestoppers Scotland said: “Many of us will be impatient to get back to nature and enjoy the stunning scenery Scotland has to offer. Our campaign is encouraging the public to be aware of the harm rural crime and anti-social behaviour can inflict on the environment and the economy, from heritage crime, to wilful fire-raising and theft, these crimes often go unreported and can ruin lives, livelihoods and the rural environment.
If you know or suspect who is involved in rural crime, Crimestoppers can be contacted in complete anonymity on 0800 555 111 and crimestoppers-uk.org.