A tractor is being drafted in to help Scotland's smallest police force in the fight against crime in the countryside.

Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary intends to take the vehicle out to agricultural shows across the region.

It will be used to help raise awareness of crime prevention measures which can be taken in rural areas.

Inspector Alan Cook said that in the last year alone about £450,000 worth of machinery, scrap metal and fuel had been stolen from remote farms.

He said he hoped the tractor could help prevent similar crimes taking place in future.

He said: "Dumfries and Galloway, as we all know, is a beautiful and safe place to live.

"However, the geography of the area and the population spread does make it vulnerable to rural crime.

"One of the things we have been looking at throughout the force is how we address rural crime — not just from a detection point of view but also a prevention point of view."

The vehicle [a New Holland T6020 Plus] was supplied by Lloyds Tractors [Dumfries, Scotland] with support from a number of other local businesses.

Cook stressed that its role was strictly for publicity and awareness-raising, not operational matters.

He said: "It is very light-hearted, it is more about attention grabbing.

"It is not going to turn up at your door after you have made a call to the police."

Its first official outing will be at the annual Guid Nychburris day parade in Dumfries this weekend.