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Farmers launch 'policing' service to fight rural criminals

A new policing scheme designed to tackle rural crime and funded by private landowners has been launched. 


Renfrewshire Rural Watch, an independent crime watch group consisting of farmers, land managers and rural businesses, was formed after a group of land owners and residents in the area decided they wanted to do something to stem the persistent rise in rural crime.

It is hoped the scheme will provide a blueprint for other areas wishing to reduce the impact of countryside criminals. Together the group is designed to make rural Renfrewshire secure against illegal activity such as theft, wildlife crime, crimes against animals and environmental crime by creating a network of people who can then share information and report suspicious activity to police.

It is being funded by Elderslie Estates and has also received sponsorship from insurance broker Lycetts which has enabled the team to create Rural Watch signs which will be displayed in the area. The new initiative, supported by Police Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates and Scottish Countryside Alliance, will also see the introduction of two dedicated rural policing officers who will provide greater police visibility across rural Renfrewshire.

Jamie Stewart Director for Scottish Countryside Alliance, said he welcomed the scheme and was most certain that the inclusive nature of the partnership with Police Scotland and local people would make a significant difference. "Agricultural crime, and crime in rural areas, is an issue that has been gaining prominence in recent years," he said. "I can only congratulate Chief Inspector Simon Wright for showing the willingness to work with Elderslie estate and those closest to the problem to help him target Police Scotland resources most effectively.

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