Local organisations have joined forces to help tackle rural crime in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Partnership Against Rural Crime was officially launched on Wednesday (October 20).

The initiative will bring together representatives from a range of organisations who have a vested interest in tackling crime which affects rural communities in the area.

There will be a key focus on various types of rural crime including fuel, plant and machinery theft, poaching, equestrian incidents, fly tipping, heritage crime (including visitor management) and livestock offences.

Inspector Andy Bushell, from Callander Police Station, said: “Tackling rural crime is a priority and this partnership is one way in which we are looking to disrupt and detect criminal activity, with local businesses and residents being faced with financial losses and significant disruption as a result of this opportunistic activity.

“The local community plays a key part in helping officers tackle this type of criminality and I would encourage people to report any incidents or suspicious activity, such as unannounced visits to farms and isolated locations.

“Residents and landowners can also take steps to protect their property and avoid falling victim to rural crime, including deterrent signage, lighting, security marking, CCTV, physical security measures and an alarm system.

"Taking note of a registration number or providing a description or photograph of suspicious activity may also help officers connect the incident to other criminal activity.  

Police Scotland will join forces with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, NFU Scotland, Forestry and Land Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates, Woodlands Trust, RSPB, the British Horse Society, Rural Watch Scotland and local business / land owners. 

Kenny Auld, head of visitor services at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “The vast majority of people who live, work and come to visit the National Park are respectful of the landscape and of the rural communities here.  

“However, we also know that rural crime is an issue and one that seriously impacts the residents and businesses within the park who are victims of it.  

“So we welcome this partnership as an opportunity to continue working closely with Police Scotland and other partners to address criminal behaviour.” 

You can report a crime by calling the Police Scotland 101 non-emergency number or online at scotland.police.uk/contact-us.

You can also phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to make a report anonymously.