Detective Inspector John Murphy, proactive lead, Scottish Borders, writes this month’s Police Scotland column...

As part of our ongoing commitment to tackling rural and acquisitive crime in the Scottish Borders, Chief Inspector Vinnie Fisher has allowed me to take over his column this week to give an overview of the sort of offences that are currently impacting our communities, as well as providing the relevant crime prevention advice to help the public safeguard their homes, businesses and vehicles.

In relation to housebreaking, while this remains an issue across the Borders, the number of incidents resulting in the theft of a vehicle have remained relatively low.

With that said, there have been two occurrences since March 2023 where quad bikes have been stolen from farms in the Kelso and Peebles area.

The total value of these stolen quads is around £19,000.

In addition there have been three incidents whereby a vehicle was stolen by means of taking the true key from inside the property.

These occurred at homes in Kelso, Duns and Peebles and the combined value of the stolen vehicles is approximately £78,000.

I would like to remind our communities to always ensure that they lock any doors and windows of their properties, be they residential or commercial, when leaving them unoccupied or going to bed in the evening and to store any valuable items away from sight.

Keys to vehicles should be kept further into your home so as to prevent easy access in the event entry is forced to the address.

If possible, please consider investing in additional security measures such as motion-activated lighting, alarms and CCTV, as well as robust locks for any sheds, garages and outbuildings you may have on your property.

A range of really useful home safety advice can be found on our website at

Another issue that remains common, especially upon rural properties in the Borders, is the theft of fuel from tankers, vehicles and fuel storage apparatus.

Since April 1, this year, there have been seven such offences, where fuel was stolen from tanks or plant.

The main fuel type taken during these incidents is diesel, however, there has also been one high-value theft of heating oil during this time.

The thefts have mainly been from industrial and construction sites, as well as farms, with three crimes occurring in Hawick, three in Duns and one in Kelso.

If you have fuel stored with tanks on your property, or within vehicles on your grounds then do not make yourself an easy target for fuel thieves.

Where possible, park and secure any relevant plant or agricultural vehicles in lock-ups with the previously mentioned security measures in place around such premises.

If you are storing fuel in a tank, consider where this is located and how visible it is to others.

Often fuel stolen from these locations occurs because the tank is located away from the main home or office and close to the road, giving easy and undisturbed access to those intent on stealing it.

Much like housebreaking, metal theft is an ongoing crime type that is not isolated to the Borders, but can and does have a serious impact upon our communities too.

The main items stolen are currently gates and radiators, however we have also recently received a report of a theft of aluminium piping.

Metal theft offences tend to be opportunistic, but in order to make off with large quantities of stolen metal, the suspects often require large vehicles and so I would urge anyone who witnesses individuals within vans or trucks who are acting suspiciously around a property, to contact police immediately.

Rural and acquisitive crime can have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of members of the public within the Scottish Borders.

Whether it’s a home, or a business that is targeted, the financial consequences of losing cash, a vehicle, or a vital piece of farming equipment can be severe.

We are committed to working alongside our relevant partners to reducing such offences but the public have a vital role to play by making sure they take all relevant steps to improve security around their homes and businesses and report any suspicious activity to us, so we can respond appropriately.