A farmer has slammed the police for its ‘disappointing’ response to a barn fire.
Cameron Crawford of George Field Farm, Melrose, near Earlston, lost 160 straw bales, 60 bales of hay and various pieces of vintage farm equipment after the barn was set alight on Monday afternoon (March 13).
He said he was ’99 per cent sure’ the incident was arson after noticing four school children in the area who he said were ‘probably having a laugh’.
But the ‘reluctant’ response from the police frustrated him most.
He said: “Rural crime just seems to be no bother to the police. They are just not interested at all.
“It would not take much to stop it but there is a complete lack of want to investigate.
“To them rural crime is a joke.”
Mr Cameron said he was increasingly concerned after his neighbour had a similar fire around two weeks ago.
It came only months after Fire and Rescue Statistics for Scotland showed a seven per cent increase in deliberate primary fires, including those on agricultural property, as rural farm fires hit a five year peak.
He added: “Luckily there was no deaths or injuries but there could have been other kids playing there or even some livestock.
“We are not happy with the response from the police. The fire service was great though.”
A Police Scotland spokesman added: “We are currently investigating after a fire broke out at a rural property in Earlston just after 6 p.m. on Monday 13th March.
“No one was injured, but several bales of hay were destroyed and local officers are continuing to liaise with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as to the circumstances surrounding this incident.
“Anyone with information that can assist officers with their inquiries should contact police immediately.”