Police in Midlothian have launched a local initiative to tackle a wide range of offences, which occur in rural areas.
Officers deal with a number of recurring issues, particularly during springtime, which can have an adverse effect on rural communities.
One roblem for those who work on Midlothian’s farmland is sheep worrying, particularly during the lambing season of March to May.
Each year 5,000 lambs are born on farms across the Pentland Hills region and any distress caused to these young animals, or to pregnant sheep can have a devastating impact on the rural economy.
Between November 2015 and January 2016, a total of six sheep were killed, while 21 more were injured during dog attacks at properties in the Roslin area. The Gorebridge area had similar problems, with seven sheep killed.
In order to combat this problem, policing teams will be liaising with dog walkers to raise awareness of their responsibilities while their animals are out in public. High-visibility patrols will also be undertaken around popular walking spots and any offences observed relating to sheep worrying or out of control animals will be dealt with.
In recent months, Midlothian has seen a rise in the number of rural crimes.
Vehicles parked within the regional parks can be subject to break-ins and valuables including sat navs, cd players and other electrical devices are always attractive to thieves. Police will have an increased presence in these areas.
Sergeant Michele Lindsay said: “We therefore treat all reports of rural crime with the utmost seriousness and this initiative will help us target the type of offences that tend to occur during the coming weeks and months.”
Anyone requiring further help should go to www.scotland.police.uk