Call for vigilance as farm thefts are on the rise

Copyright 2010 Andy Thompson Photography'No use without payment'www.atimages.com'Tel: 07795437362''S.C. Ricky Martin marking farm equipment with Smart Water
Copyright 2010 Andy Thompson Photography'No use without payment'www.atimages.com'Tel: 07795437362''S.C. Ricky Martin marking farm equipment with Smart Water
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FARMERS fear they could be hit by spring rustlers who targeted farms last year.

This latest worry comes on top of a spate of thefts that have hit many hard.

Fuel, quad bikes, batteries, tractors, farm gates and bales of silage have all been reported stolen.

Now NFU Scotland is urging members to show extra vigilance to prevent costly farm thefts following a worrying increase in incidents.

NFU Scotland vice-president Nigel Miller from Stow has been forced to move his farm diesel tank after several thefts.

In April last year, NFU Scotland reported several hundred sheep being stolen from farms in the Borders, which led to a closer working relationship with Lothian and Borders Police.

Jim McLaren, NFUS president, who has had his farm targeted by thieves, says farmers should step up their security.

The union is also urging the rural community who spot anything suspicious to alert the police.

Mr McLaren said: “The theft of machinery, equipment, fuel or livestock from farms costs the industry tens of millions of pounds each year, but also takes a huge emotional toll on those subjected to the action of thieves.

“Given soaring costs, it is appropriate that farmers take a bit of time to check that fuel tanks, farm buildings and access to storage areas are as secure as possible.”

He added: “As a result of sheep rustling problems in the Borders last spring, we are now working in partnership with Lothian and Borders Police on thefts in the region, and many of our branches and regions now work closely with their local forces on rural crime.”