As the darker nights draw in and the clocks change for winter, farmers, crofters and those working in the industry are urged to remain vigilant and take measures to protect their property.
In recent weeks, NFU Scotland has been made aware of a spate of high value thefts, and is asking those in the agricultural industry to take the time now to make sure their locks are secure, equipment is put away at the end of the working day, and to take simple measures to deter thieves.
The thefts have included a £70,000 tractor from a North-East farm, a high-value tractor and forklift stolen from a Fife farm, and various equipment and machinery stolen in the East Lothian area.
NFU Scotland has been working with Police Scotland over the last 18 months to encourage farmers and crofters to make their farms and crofts more secure and to report anything suspicious to police on 101.
Various events have been held by NFU Scotland in conjunction with partner agencies to assist the industry in deterring thieves, including ensuring padlocks are fit for purpose, CCTV is fully functional and floodlighting is working.
Gemma Cooper, NFU Scotland Policy Manager commented: “As the nights draw in, it can be all too easy for people to become complacent about security, making them the ideal target for opportunist thieves.
“According to NFU Mutual, last year alone rural crime cost Scotland £1.7million with the most commonly targeted items by thieves over the last 12 months being quad bikes, tools from farms and businesses and oil and diesel.
“Farmers are having to stay one step ahead of thieves and face a continual battle to protect their property. It is only by continually reviewing and improving their own practices and security features that will allow them to ward off thieves.
“Our key advice is to make sure security equipment is fully operational, all machinery, and equipment, including trailers, are locked away in sheds or buildings overnight and the keys stored away from windows and main doors in houses.
“By making time to take simple precautions now could save you a lot of time, money and hassle in the future.”