Two farmers have narrowly avoided a prison sentence after stealing almost £20,000 worth of cattle.
Lloyd Fowlie, 32, from Guise in the Tough area, and Craig Arbuckle, 20, from Pitreuchie Farm, Forfar, Angus, were sentenced at Aberdeen Sherriff Court on Friday 7 February.
In December, they were found guilty by jury of the theft of 14 cattle, worth about £1,400 each, from Kinellar and Monymusk in June and July 2016.
Both were sentenced to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work, to be completed over 18 months, and were given an 11-month curfew that requires them to stay within their homes at certain times.
Police Scotland released a statement welcoming the convictions.
Chief inspector Norman Stevenson, the force’s north-east division rural crime lead, said: “We recognise the significant and devastating effect that rural crime can have on local businesses and the livelihoods of those living and working in our rural communities, which makes us all the more determined as a collective to identify and prosecute those responsible.”
Lorna Paterson, NFU Scotland regional manager, said: “NFU Scotland cannot ever condone rural criminality within our community and anything relating to rural crime– be it livestock worrying or theft – is a complete blight on the countryside.
“We’d like to acknowledge the work of the North East Rural Crime and Safety Partnership and we are certain the wider rural community will be grateful for their efforts and success.
“NFU Scotland always welcomes the successes our Police Scotland staff achieve through collaboration and we will continue to work closely with their staff and other stakeholders in order to mitigate incidents and activities of this type.”