Prosecutors promise to review rural crimewave

Theft of farm machinery is increasing
Theft of farm machinery is increasing

Following the Journal and Gazette’s story last week on rural crime, The Crown Office have now promised a full review of how agricultural crime in Scotland is to be prosecuted .

Last week, Linlithgow farmerJamie Smart said crime in rural areas was rising exponentially, and that organised gangs were now targeting farms.

Recent figures showed that in 2013, rural crime cost Scotland around £1.9 million.

Margaret Mitchell MSP instigated a meeting on the issue.

And the MSP used parliamentary question time to ask the Minister for Community Safety about the traceability of stolen quad bikes, which are one of the most commonly stolen items of farm equipment.

Commenting, Margaret Mitchell said: “The SNP majority government continues to insist that crime rates are going down.

“However this is certainly not the experience of people in farming communities.”

The Crown Office said: “It was clear from the recent Justice Committee round table event on agricultural crime that it would be helpful for prosecutors to have more information on the full impact of the crime on victims and local businesses and not just the value stolen.

“We have therefore instructed a review of prosecution policy in this area to focus on this area of criminality.”