Forensic markings launched to deter Borders farm thieves

From Left to Right: PC Nick Walker - Crime Prevention Officer ' Safer Communities, Police Scotland; Mr Gavin Millar ' Timpendean Farm, Jedburgh ' Local NFUS branch Chairman; PC Gary Chisholm ' Community Beat Officer, Jedburgh and District; Samantha Seeds ' Local Authority Liaison Officer ' Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
From Left to Right: PC Nick Walker - Crime Prevention Officer ' Safer Communities, Police Scotland; Mr Gavin Millar ' Timpendean Farm, Jedburgh ' Local NFUS branch Chairman; PC Gary Chisholm ' Community Beat Officer, Jedburgh and District; Samantha Seeds ' Local Authority Liaison Officer ' Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

A forensic marking scheme is being launched by police in the Scottish Borders in a bid to cut theft from farms throughout the region.

Around 200 farms will benefit from the new SelectaDNA marking scheme, which will police say will transform them into hi-tech ‘forensic farms’.

SelectaDNA is a traceable forensic marking solution with a unique DNA code that can be easily applied to items of value such as farm equipment. In the event that any items are stolen and recovered by police, they are traceable back to the individual farm.

According to NFU Mutual’s annual rural crime survey, theft cost an estimated £37.8m in the UK during 2014 – down 15% on 2013’s high of £44.5m.

Police Constable Nick Walker, a crime prevention officer, said: “These latest rural crime figures are still way too high and farms in the Borders are repeatedly targeted for acquisitive crime by opportunist thieves and organised gangs.

“Quad bike theft is a particular problem, along with theft of tractors, 4 x 4 vehicles and power tools, as well as livestock. The aims of this scheme are to help prevent and also help detect theft from farms throughout the area.”

NFU Scotland is assisting Police Scotland with the selection of the ‘forensic farms’, identifying vulnerable and previously targeted premises.

PC Walker added: “This is a wide-reaching scheme covering farms from Coldstream to Cockburnspath, Eyemouth across to Peebles and south to Newcastleton.

“Key to the success of these kits is the use of perimeter warning signage and window stickers to deter thieves by alerting them to the fact that valuable items on the farms have been marked..”

Police Scotland and the community planning partnership at Scottish Borders Council have funded the scheme, which will be implemented in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Local officers will begin contacting selected farms in late September to offer the kits.