Perthshire community in shock after pop-up cop "nicked"

Resident Mark Petrie (left) and Cllr Angus Forbes were shocked to discover Pop-up Jim had been stolen
Resident Mark Petrie (left) and Cllr Angus Forbes were shocked to discover Pop-up Jim had been stolen -Credit:Angus Forbes

A Perthshire community has been left in shock after someone "nicked" Pop-up Jim who was "really making a difference" in lowering the speed of traffic in the rural hamlet.

The plastic cutout policeman - also known as Pop-up Plod - was unchained and stolen from a Carse of Gowrie roadside late last month.

Police Scotland has now concluded its enquiries into Jim's disappearance but will assess any new information that might come to light.

On the evening of April 30, Pop-up Jim was cut free from his chains and taken from the side of the B953 at Abernyte which he had been dutifully patrolling. Jim had spent the past few months doing an admirable job lowering the speed of traffic in the sleepy rural hamlet and keeping the community safe.

The theft of the plastic policeman - which cost Perth and Kinross Council around £250 - resulted in a phone call to the physical police who issued a crime reference number and investigated.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "On Tuesday, April 30, we received a report of the disappearance of a pop-up police officer from Main Road, Abernyte.

"Enquiries have been carried out and have now concluded. Any new information will be assessed."

Carse of Gowrie councillor Angus Forbes - who arranged for Pop-up Jim to be installed in Abernyte - was "horrified that the much-loved - but fairly silent - police officer was no longer a feature of the Abernyte community".

Cllr Forbes added: "Pop-up Jim had only been in Abernyte for a few months and already he had helped slow down drivers as they approached the village. I was really disappointed that he had been stolen.

"The chains had been cut and left at the scene which clearly indicated that someone had gone out equipped with the sole intention of stealing him - because I assume bolt cutters are not normally carried in a car. This was clearly not a prank by some drunk person on their way home from the pub."

Cllr Forbes has managed to find a female replacement for Jim but enhanced security measures will be put in place before Pop-up Jane takes to the roadside.

The Conservative councillor beamed: "I am delighted that I was able to source a new pop-up cop; this time a female officer called Pop-up Jane. We'll need to enhance our security around her before she makes an appearance. I am grateful to Perth and Kinross Council for supplying another pop-up cop for Abernyte."

Local resident Mark Petrie described it as a "bit of a shock" to find someone had gone out of their way specifically to steal the popular pop-up cop.

Mark said: "I woke up one morning to find him gone; he had been safe and secure the night before.

"Abernyte is a safe and pleasant place to live so it's a bit of a shock that someone has come along with the sole intention of stealing him. There are no pavements in Abernyte so people - including children going to school or the playing field - have to walk along the side of the road. He was really making a difference to the speed of the traffic approaching the village.

"With additional traffic expected as a result of the Cross Tay Link Road we need as many measures as possible to ensure drivers adhere to the speed limit and we can all still safely go for a walk.

"Hopefully Pop-up Jane will be as good a deterrent as Jim was - maybe even better!"

Perth and Kinross Council has said thefts of its pop-up cops are rare.

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: "We have found that the use of ‘pop-up’ police officer figures on local roads can help motorists consider their speed. In our experience the figures - which cost around £250 each - are generally welcomed by the public and vandalism or theft is not a regular occurrence."