Raising awareness of rural crime

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Look out for the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) tractor which  will begin a tour of  Argyll and the Islands as part of its nationwide road show to raise awareness of the blight of rural crime.

The SPARC-branded tractor will be boarding the Ardrossan to Brodick ferry next week for Arran Agricultural Show on Wednesday August 7, before attending Islay Show the following day.  The vehicle will go on to Mid Argyll Show on August 10 and Dalmally on September 7.

The creation of the Valtra T174EA SPARC-branded tractor and an accompanying Kubota RTV X1110 utility vehicle follows on from the popularity of a similar branded tractor last year, which was created to raise awareness of the partnership at agricultural shows and to open discussion with the public and those within the agricultural industry.

Rural and remote areas such as Argyll continue to be targeted by opportunist and organised criminals and it is hoped that this tour will encourage those living, working and visiting rural communities to take precautions and protect their property while reporting any suspicious activity.

This year’s tractor is supplied by Hamilton Ross Group in partnership with SPARC and it has already visited more than 25 agricultural shows across the country.

SPARC is made up of 16 strategic partners from across the rural community and seeks to combat rural crime, such as livestock offences, fly-tipping, heritage crime, equestrian incidents, fuel theft, poaching, and theft of agricultural vehicles, forestry machinery and quad bikes.

Inspector Alan Dron, Rural Crime Co-ordinator for SPARC, said: ‘Rural crime occurs throughout Scotland and recognises no boundaries. Therefore, it is important SPARC can take a visual presence to support the local communities, local partners and agricultural shows on islands such as Arran and Islay or in areas of Argyll like Lochgilphead, Bute and Dalmally.

‘By everyone working together we can promote and improve community cohesion where those living, working or enjoying beautiful areas such as

Eric Gardiner, managing director of the Hamilton Ross Group, said: ‘We are delighted with the positive response from our partnership with SPARC and look forward to opening discussion with customers in the Argyll farming community. We hope the SPARC tractor tour continues to raise awareness of rural crime prevention and the security measures that can be taken to protect farm equipment and machinery.’

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