Crimestoppers wants local people to supply information - anonymously - to help protect hard-pressed rural communities.
The independent charity which empowers people to speak up and stop crime is calling on everyone to play their part as more of us are visiting the countryside during the pandemic.
Criminal gangs exploit local wildlife, environment and communities in a number of ways – rural residents often feel unsafe in their own homes; farm owners have to foot the bill for criminal damage; and local businesses in rural areas can see their income and cashflow adversely affected.
Last year, the charity passed on more than 16,500 anonymous pieces of information from people across Scotland.
Reports included a (named) man using aggressive dogs to carry out illegal hunting of deer and game including rabbits. He goes hunting across the fields at named location.
Local tradesmen at (address given) burying asbestos in earth mounds on the field, and dumping and burning rubbish.
Name men involved in the theft of plant machinery from building sites and farms. They are involved in stealing diggers, caterpillars, bobcats and tractors that do not have trackers on.
They have been doing this for many years. They sell the stolen goods to others including across Europe.
From its latest claims’ statistics issued this week, NFU Mutual estimates that rural theft cost Scotland £1.7m.
Crimestoppers has been working with SPARC (Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime), Mitie and Neighbourhood Watch to help raise the profile of rural crime.
The charity’s four-week UK-wide campaign is supported by NFU Mutual, RSPCA, Countryside Alliance, NFU, Openreach, FireStoppers, Link, National Wildlife Crime Unit, Environment Agency, CLA and the Angling Trust.
Angela Parker at Crimestoppers Scotland, said: “Your information can make all the difference.”
Call the charity’s contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111
Angela added; “A team of professionals working at our charity’s UK Contact Centre anonymise all information received – to ensure the person giving the details is never identified - before passing it on to police to investigate. Your voice really can make a difference. Working together, we can help protect our precious countryside and rural environment, communities and business from the harm caused by these criminal gangs.”
John Hayward-Cripps, Chief Executive of Neighbourhood Watch Network, said: “With headlines often focused on crime in the cities, it is easy to forget rural crime, but rural crime is increasing and is a serious issue. From hare coursing to machinery theft, the impact of rural crime on victims’ lives and livelihood can be enormous, with victims often left with long-term anxiety. Together we can stop it.”
To report rural crime 100% anonymously, visit the charity’s website Crimestoppers-uk.org and fill in a simple and secure anonymous online form or call their 24/7 UK Contact Centre 365 days of the year. In an emergency, always call 999.