A farmer from Upper Largo has had to make the difficult decision to close his quad bike tour business after 18 months of break ins and thefts.
Bill Clark, who set up Largo Quad and Clay around five years ago, decided enough was enough, making his feelings very clear in a sign erected on his land next to the A915.
It’s not just me, it’s something which is affecting a lot of farms in the area.Bill Clark
He told the Mail: “This has been a continuing saga.
“We know who they are, but it is so frustrating because we can’t do anything. I’m a bit gutted about it - we were going to replace five bikes, but that was going to be about £30-35,000, and it just would have been tantamount to disaster.”
The attempts to break in and steal the bikes started over 18 months ago, and despite extra security measures, continued up until December last year.
In total, thieves managed to obtain one quad bike, which has never been recovered, severly damaged another, and also stole a trailer, which was thankfully recovered.
But with rising insurance premiums, Mr Clark decided it was not worth keeping the business going.
“I’m really annoyed because it was working. We had a tie in with Morton of Pitmilly in Kingsbarns and Kilconquhar Castle - it was all going really well.”
Mr Clark has since had to cancel all bookings, including a stag party for 19.
“We had an awful lot of repeat business, and there were other people involved who got a wage which is no longer either.”
Despite selling the remaining quad bikes, Mr Clark has vowed to honour outstanding vouchers which he had donated as part of charity events - “I don’t want to leave people disappointed.”
The farmer said instances of rural crime are definitely on the rise, and as a member of Rural Crime Watch, receives around two or three alerts every week.
“It’s not just me, it’s something which is affecting a lot of farms in the area.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Police are aware of reports of theft at Chesterstone Farm and enquiries are being carried out to trace those responsible.
“As part of our investigation two men have been arrested and charged in connection with separate incidents in July and December last year however we are keen to hear from anyone with information that can assist with our enquiries.
“Those who can help are asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”