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Red alert at Angus Glens amid crime spree

Damage caused to a legal predator control trap on an Angus moor,.
Damage caused to a legal predator control trap on an Angus moor,.

A rural crime spree has struck the normally tranquil Angus Glens and put farmers and gamekeepers on red alert.

Several estates at Glenesk have suffered break-ins this month, after a number of legal predator control traps were targeted by vandals on local moors.

Residents believe the perpetrators must have local knowledge.

Gamekeeper Ali Brown of Angus Glens Moorland Group has witnessed damage to traps on his ground as well as the theft of workers’ machinery.

He does not believe the two are linked but said the situation has put everyone in the glen on alert.

He said: “It is quite sickening and worrying for people. Whenever we see trap damage now, we photograph it and send it straight to the police.

“That is an ongoing thing and I think a lot of that type of damage is due to people being ignorant of what these devices are used for in the countryside and having little respect for peoples’ property.

“In terms of the thefts, they are happening up single track roads so it looks as if these people have local knowledge.

“People in the country tend to be quite trusting. I was brought up a farmer’s son but I see things changing in the countryside. Rural crime is on the rise everywhere.

“People need to be aware at all times and make sure doors are locked. If these people can sell the things they get, then they will steal on demand.”

The most recent incident last week was the daylight theft of tools including a welder, generator and power saw from an outbuilding belonging to a tenant farmer.

Vehicle tracks were found at the scene of one of the incidents but it is believed an earlier theft of tools was carried out on foot.

The first incident took place early in August when a shipping container sited by workers rebuilding a bridge on a local estate was raided and hand tools stolen.

On the same evening, padlocks were cut on buildings at two farms although no items of value were removed.

“You don’t expect these kinds of things to be happening so far up the glen,” said farmer Mike Littlejohn, who reported a burglary to police last week.

“It seems estates in the area are being targeted and it is important for everyone to stay vigilant and to make sure everything is kept secure at all times.”

Legal predator control traps on local moors have also been targeted which help vulnerable ground nesting game birds by catching abundant predators such as crows and stoats.

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