A nationwide crackdown on vehicle crime called Operation Quarterlight is underway in Argyll and Bute.
Each week, since November 2014, 70 cars have, on average, been stolen across Scotland. In addition, each week more than 230 vehicles have either been broken into or had items stolen from them having been left insecure.
Farmers in Argyll and Bute are being targeted by opportunistic thieves who are stealing items such as quad bikes and trailers. This not only affects their livelihoods, but also their ability to travel around, especially during the winter months.
Since last April, six quad bikes have been stolen in the area, along with more than 2000 litres of red diesel.
Offenders in the area appear to be lifting items straight into trucks and vans, or managing to start and drive the stolen vehicles away. As a result, people living in rural communities are being encouraged to ensure their equipment and vehicles are kept in a secure location, for example, a locked shed, garage, or outbuilding when they are not being used. It is also important not to leave keys in the ignition of machinery and to keep them out of sight at home.
Police Scotland’s South Argyll Area Commander Chief Inspector, Gary Stitt, said: “Theft of items such as quad bikes are devastating for people living in rural communities. For many, these vehicles are not only used for work purposes, but for day-to-day travel along difficult tracks, which are often impassable in any other vehicle during the winter months.
“More and more, offenders are also stealing red diesel from vehicles and fuel from tanks in and around farmers’ yards.
“I would urge people in rural areas not to invite crime into their property – make life difficult for criminals and protect the items you’ve worked hard for. By changing habits, and working in partnership, vehicle crime can be prevented.”
Lucy Sumsion, NFU Scotland Regional Manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “NFUS is working with Police Scotland on an ongoing basis. NFUS members are often the victims of rural vehicle crime, so it is very encouraging that Police Scotland is making this a priority issue. NFUS looks forward to working with Police Scotland on rural crime issues.”