Police and amateur enthusiasts are to join forces with the country’s heritage watchdog to combat the growing problem of crimes against historic properties.
It comes amid a report by Edinburgh City Council which recorded a cost of more than £350,000 in one year for metal theft and vandalism at historic properties in the Capital.
Historic Scotland is to consult with Scotland’s police forces and insurance companies to work out how to tackle various aspects of heritage crime.
An “early warning” network to target criminals who are breaking into properties and ransacking historic sites will be created.
Community bodies such as Neighbourhood Watch, amateur archaeologists and metal-detector users are to be recruited by Historic Scotland to report suspicious activity around historic sites and crack down on thefts and vandalism.
Experts say metal thefts and the raiding of protected sites for artefacts are causing irreparable damage and cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.
Guidelines will be issued to the owners of the country’s 47,000 listed properties on how to protect the sites.