The Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime recently published their October 2021 update. Read the October briefing below.
- The number of rural crimes recorded throughout Scotland spiked and was the highest number recorded in a month for 2021. In terms of overall rural crimes reported, Lothians & The Scottish Borders area was the most targeted, (almost double the number of crimes compared to all other areas) followed by Aberdeenshire then Lanarkshire with once again by far and away the main crimes relating to theft of agricultural + plant machinery with a further notable rise in numbers of quad bikes being stolen. The total cost of rural crime for October totalled £683,396 with a total of £120,650 recovered, the majority of which relates to stolen agricultural machinery and quads. This compares to a total reported rural crime figure of £360,865 and a total of £54,000 recovered in October 2020, again highlighting criminality continues to target more expensive and sophisticated machinery within rural locations.
- In terms of cross border activity, a total of 22 bulletins were circulated during October under ‘Operation Hawkeye’ taking the total number of bulletins shared since January 2021 to 143. As a direct result of the continued liaison between National Rural & Acquisitive Crime Unit and Operation Hawkeye building evidence, information and intelligence which has resulted in the identification and subsequent targeting of key individuals leading to their apprehensions, a further meeting of all Operation Hawkeye participants will be held on 17th November 2021 in Hexham, Northumbria to further develop partnerships and review any gaps. From a Scottish perspective, Operation Hawkeye has confirmed and identified that the majority of targeted rural crime committed in Scotland is perpetrated via a couple of serious organised crime groups plus several key families from the criminal element of the travelling fraternity who are all linked and travel extensively throughout the Scotland, Cumbria, Northumbria, Cleveland and County Durham areas.
- Of note, of the 140 reported rural crime incidents, 78 related to the theft of agricultural machinery, plant and quad bikes being targeted across various divisions but in particular from Lothians & The Scottish Borders where over £220,000 worth was stolen. An organised crime group from County Durham linking in with various members from the criminal element of the travelling fraternity, all of whom have been previously active throughout Scotland and responsible for numerous crimes ranging from ATM thefts to bogus worker to dog theft have been identified. Involved in various police pursuits north and south of the border, a number of stolen motor vehicles, agricultural machinery/quads, trailers and tools have been recovered with key individuals arrested which has resulted in ongoing liaison between Police Scotland officers and colleagues in Durham and Cumbria. The Group are also identified and suspected for similar crimes in Argyll & Bute, Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Highlands and Lanarkshire.
- Other successes have included individuals arrested for a number of caravan thefts in the Dumfries & Galloway area, recovery of various quad and machinery parts hidden within woodland ranging from Aberdeenshire to the Borders plus in the Perthshire area, recovery of a stolen quad within the back of a stolen van conveniently parked beside another stolen vehicle previously responsible for stealing a trailer and another quad !!
- On 20th October, the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs local partnership against rural crime held their official launch on the shores of Loch Lubnaig. Thanks to the partners who made it along and great to have another partnership up and running, (see attached photo above). There have also been positive developments regarding a reinvigorating of the North East PARC which is excellent news !!