Farmers are being urged to be vigilant following several thefts from farm outbuildings in the Banff and Peterhead areas of Aberdeenshire.

National Farmers' Union Scotland's (NFUS) Andrew Connon made a plea to local farmers to ensure they keep farm vehicles and buildings secure and locked wherever possible.

"Also, please look out for suspicious vehicles or people and report to Police Scotland on 101 as soon as possible," he added.

"If there is suspicious activity, then please let NFUS regional manager Lorna Paterson know so that we can use text messaging and social media to alert other members in the area. We need to work together to minimise and reduce local rural crime."

North East Division crime reduction officer Constable Richard Russell said:

"With dark nights upon us, it provides further opportunities for thieves to target farms and steadings knowing high value items are often kept on the premises.

I ask farmers to consider how a thief may enter your site and how easy it might be for them to gain entry to your buildings and vehicles. Discourage a thief from approaching your premises by closing and locking yard gates.

"Ensure adequate lighting covers the yard and doors to outbuildings. Several security devices are now on the market which alert and relay live footage of your CCTV to your mobile telephone."

Storing tools

Russell continued:

Store portable tools such as chain saws, jet washers and welders in a secure locked 'cage' where possible and ensure any padlocks or chains are of a good quality. Thieves might be reluctant to use power tools to cut open heavy locks due to noise created and something that takes time to remove will also act as a deterrent.

"Farmers are busy individuals who work long hours, but it is important to have a daily routine of locking outbuildings and securing vehicles at the end of each day. Be more controlling over keys, where they are kept and who has access to them.

"Speak to your neighbours and encourage each other to report any suspicious activity. If something feels not quite right – it probably isn’t. "

"I would also encourage people living and working in rural communities to sign up to receive crime alerts in their area by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Alert scheme," Russell said.