Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 14:32 UK

'Hamish Macbeth' beat's new base

Rhiconich Police Station
Pc Sutherland, Mr Latimer and Mr MacLeod outside the station

A police station serving one of the largest beats in Europe and once the base for a real life Hamish Macbeth has reopened following refurbishment.

The building at Rhiconich serves a huge swathe of Sutherland.

The station's former policeman, David Inglis, was the only officer covering a 900 square mile area for nine years until he retired in 2006.

Parallels were drawn between Pc Inglis and actor Robert Carlyle's character in the BBC series Hamish Macbeth.

Both policemen had responsibility for remote Scottish communities - and owned West Highland Terriers.

The revamped station was due to be officially reopened by Northern Constabulary's chief constable, Ian Latimer, and Northern Joint Police Board convener Norman MacLeod.

It is still staffed by one officer, Pc Ian Sutherland.

Hamish Macbeth was filmed in Plockton in Lochalsh. The series ran during the late 1990s.

The original building was believed to have been built by the Duke of Sutherland, as a hotel, the Stafford Arms Inn, in the 1850s.

It was later badly damaged by fire and largely demolished and the remains extensively altered. The building was acquired as a police station in the 1960s.

Northern Constabulary said several options for modernising or replacing the station were investigated from 2006 to 2007.

Eventually it was decided to demolish the police station annex, refurbish the police house as a new station and construct a new house at the rear. The work was completed last October.

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