Joining forces to combat farm fires and rural crime

Fire damage at Cairncross Farm between Reston and Coldingham
Fire damage at Cairncross Farm between Reston and Coldingham

NFU Scotland, in conjunction with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland, is hosting a farm visit in an effort to encourage farmers to take measures to prevent rural crime.

The organisations are keen to ensure that farmers have taken all reasonable steps to avoid being targeted by thieves, and to protect their property from fires and are committed to assisting in any way possible.

The event, taking place at Timpendean Farm, Jedburgh, on July 1 by permission of Gavin Millar, NFU Scotland’s branch chairman for Hawick and Jedburgh, will give farmers the chance to speak to the organisations.

There will also be fire safety and crime prevention demonstrations.

NFUS branch chairman Gavin Millar commented: “Rural communities are being targeted more and we need to take measures to guard ourselves against both opportunistic and organised gangs. It is not just the initial loss and anguish suffered but the longer term inconvenience and increased insurance premiums as a result.

“Fire can cause a significant amount of damage, and again we are noticing an increase in farm fires in this area. We need to take the relevant precautions to ensure farms are protected from fires where possible and work with the Scottish Fire and Rescue service to reduce the possibilities of this happening.

“This event will focus on these two issues, as well as wildlife crime, and will be a great opportunity for members to speak to the organisations involved and get advice.”

The event will take place on Wednesday, July 1, from 6pm to 8.30pm at Timpendean Farm, Jedburgh TD8 6SS. For more information on the event contact Scottish Borders Council Safer Communities Team 01835 823204 or or NFU Scotland’s regional manager Kerry Barr.

Meanwhile NFU Scotland has welcomed positive action by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) following the first working group meeting to look at agricultural crime prosecution policy.

The organisations agreed action points to take forward with the next meeting due to take place in August.

NFU Scotland’s legal and technical policy manager Gemma Thomson commented: “This initial meeting of the working group was extremely constructive and we welcome this positive action to review prosecution policy for agricultural crime.

“NFUS is currently investing a large amount of time in assisting its members who are affected by rural crime issues. This work includes working with Police Scotland at a local and national level, and this new working group with COPFS is welcome as it comes at a time when we are starting to see a real appreciation of the full effects of rural crime.”