PUBLIC-SPIRITED members of our communities helped snare more than 300 criminals through the independent charity Crimestoppers.

Their recent annual report revealed that in West Scotland, which includes East Ayrshire, a record number of people contacted them in the 12 months to March 31.

People are becoming more willing to speak out and make local neighbourhoods safer for everyone, as highlighted by the charity’s report.

6,360 pieces of anonymous information sent were to the police and other law enforcement ­agencies — an increase of 11 per cent ­— with 311 criminals brought to justice.

This included three people who were arrested and charged with murder/unlawful killings.

Other significant achievements ­—

Eight Firearms and ammunition were recovered

Drugs with a street value of £507,909 seized.

Stolen goods and cash worth £60,034 returned to the rightful owners.

5,388 pieces of information acted on by law enforcement – an increase of 24 per cent.

There were 716 positive outcomes, classified as arrest and charge, preventions, disruptions, referrals and interventions – an increase of 22 per cent.

Included in this figure are instances of safeguarding, prevention, referrals to support organisation, submission of a vulnerable person’s report or direct intervention to stop a crime.

An enhanced award scheme paid out £15,000 in relation to specific crimes ­— it is intended that this will encourage others to contact Crimestoppers.

Angela Parker, National Manager for Crimestoppers Scotland, said: “This is an impressive increase that shows how people are putting their trust in our charity as a way to pass on crime information whilst remaining anonymous.

“Often people are too scared or concerned to speak directly to the police, despite holding the key in terms of crime information. Our guarantee of anonymity means they can pass on information without fearing consequences.

“Their identity will never be known.”

As well as calling 0800 555 111 people can visit and use the non-traceable online form.