Farmers and land owners in East Lothian are invited to a free ‘walk and talk’ event looking at crime prevention and fire safety on farm.
The informal event, organised by the newly formed East Lothian Partnership Against Rural Crime (ELPARC), will be launched by Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, and provide a key opportunity to discuss current rural crime and fire-related issues. The event will also see the launch of Rural Watch, a free service which alerts users to local issues and criminal activity.
The partnership organisations are keen to ensure farmers have taken all reasonable steps to avoid being targeted by thieves, and to protect their property from fires and are committed to assisting where possible.
The event is taking place at Adniston Farm, Macmerry on 23 January from 12-3.30pm by kind permission of Messrs Kennedy. It is designed to give farmers the chance to speak to the organisations together with participating in fire safety and crime prevention demonstrations. Lunch will be available at 12noon.
Chair of the Partnership is East Lothian Council Protective Services Manager, Derek Oliver, who commented: “ELPARC is concerned with the occurrence and fear of all crime affecting our rural communities. This includes wildlife, heritage, environmental, livestock and other crimes including anti-social behaviour which impact on the quality of life in rural areas and the rural economy. ELPARC is committed to improving the response to those challenges.
“Farmers are asked to come along to this event to see for themselves cost-effective and simple measures they can adopt which could prevent criminal activity on their property.”
NFU Scotland’s Regional Chairman for the Lothians and Borders, Kelvin Pate, commented: “Rural communities are being targeted more and we need to take measures to guard ourselves against both opportunistic and organised gangs. It is not just the initial loss and anguish suffered but the longer-term inconvenience and increased insurance premiums as a result.
“Fire can cause a significant amount of damage, and again we are noticing an increase in farm fires in this area. We need to take the relevant precautions to ensure farms are protected from fires where possible and work with the Scottish Fire and Rescue service to reduce the possibilities of this happening.
“This event will focus on these two issues, as well as wildlife crimes such as hare coursing, and will be a great opportunity for farmers to speak to the organisations involved and get advice.”
The ELPARC consists of the following organisations: East Lothian Council, Police Scotland, SFRS, NFUS, SEPA, SSPCA, RSPB, Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and Marine Scotland.