Thieves will have nowhere to hide say police, as new crackdown is launched

Thieves targeting rural areas are being targeted in a new initiative by police.police

Operation Quarterlight has been launched in Argyll and Bute, aiming at criminals who steal farm, agricultural and plant vehicles.

Police Scotland say farmers are being targeted by opportunistic thieves who are stealing items such as quad bikes and trailers.

Since last April, six quad bikes have been stolen in the area, along with more than 2,000 litres of red diesel.

Detective Superintendent Yvonne Scott, deputy for Operation Quarterlight and based at Dumbarton Police Office, said: “Vehicle crime is not a new phenomenon, the community has been blighted by it for years.

“It is important as police officers we continue to recognise the impact it has on people’s perception and fear of crime.

“If you are an offender, be in no doubt our officers have you in their sights, and there is nowhere to hide.”

Thieves appear to be lifting items straight into trucks and vans, or managing to start and drive the stolen vehicles away.

People living in rural communities are being encouraged to ensure their equipment and vehicles are kept in a secure location, such as a locked shed, garage, or outbuilding when they are not being used.

Police say it is also important not to leave keys in the ignition of machinery and to keep them out of sight at home.

Officers were joined by representatives of the National Farmers’ Union in Dunoon earlier today as part of their ongoing efforts to crack down on vehicle theft and crime.

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.”