Advice to beat rural arson

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Farmers across the county are being urged to heed new advice to avoid being targeted by arsonists.

The CLA, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue, and Nottinghamshire Police have issued new guidelines farmers in a bid to stop them falling victim to the costly 
crime.

Straw stacks are typically targeted during July and October, and these fires cost farming businesses thousands of pounds – as well as causing huge disruption to rural communities.

CLA Eastern Regional Surveyor Claire Wright said: “The summer time and harvest are exceptionally busy times on farms in the county and across the region. Deliberate fire setting causes untold problems for farmers – and the people involved show no thought of the consequences.

“Deliberate straw stack fires destroy important material used in arable and livestock farming – it’s not just a by-product. They can spread rapidly, threatening buildings, livestock, machinery, and, potentially, human lives.

“These fires also keep fire and police service personnel tied up for hours when they may be needed to attend an emergency elsewhere.

Bryn Coleman, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager, urged farmers to follow this advice: “Try to site your stack away from public roads and visible places. Split large stacks into smaller stacks with a 10-metre gap down the middle so that if a fire occurs you may have a chance to move unburnt straw away.

“If possible don’t stack bales near buildings with livestock inside: if it catches fire you could lose both. Remove hay and straw from the field as soon as possible, if it has to be left overnight you might consider blocking access routes to it.

“We appreciate stack fires are a huge and irreplaceable loss for the farming community and we hope by raising awareness with the CLA and Nottinghamshire Police we can reduce the number of incidents.

“If you require any further information on fire safety then please visit our web site at www.notts-fire.gov.uk.”

Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Racher, rural crime lead for Nottinghamshire Police, said: “The potential risk to life, livestock, and property caused by deliberate fires set on farmland cannot be overstated.

“Stacks are essentially kindling and the flames can spread easily and very quickly across the land, as well as producing smoke which causes hazardous driving conditions to motorists using nearby roads.

“We also urge people living on or near farmland to be the eyes and ears of their community and to report any suspicious activity by telephoning 101.”