Two men who stole almost £20,000 of cattle have been handed community payback orders.
Lloyd Fowlie, 32, and Craig Arbuckle, 30, were both found guilty of stealing the 14 livestock, worth around £1,400 each, from Lower Todlachie, Monymusk, Inverurie, between July 14 and July 23 2016.
They were found guilty by a jury at Aberdeen Sheriff Court at the end of last year and returned to the dock yesterday to be sentenced.
Sheriff Morag McLaughlin handed Fowlie, of Guise, near Alford, and Arbuckle, of Pitreuchie Farm, Forfar, Angus, community payback orders.
The duo were both given 11 month restriction of liberty orders, ordering them to stay within their homes at certain times, and told to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work with 18 months to complete it.
Lorna Paterson, the regional manager for the National Farmers Union (NFU) in the north-east, welcomed the sentences handed down to Fowlie and Arbuckle.
She 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 which 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.”
Police Scotland’s Chief Inspector Norman Stevenson said the North East Rural Crime and Safety Partnership would “not stop” tackling these kind of offences.
He said: “The conviction of Lloyd Fowlie and Craig Arbuckle is very much welcomed and a testament to all involved that rural crime and the safety of those in such areas is taken very seriously.
“Inquiries of these types will be investigated fully and while the evidence capture is challenging, with the support of the community and partners to Police Scotland, a conviction has been secured in cases like these.
“We recognise the significant and devastating impact 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.”