Emergency services have highlighted the dangers of arson attacks and are encouraging farmers to increase safety precautions in the darker months.
Farmers have been warned to heighten precautions through the coming months after an increased number of arson attacks on farmland and rural buildings.
Recent weeks have seen a surge in farm fires on the Shropshire and Staffordshire border, with police suspecting they had been ignited deliberately.
Emergency services are urging farmers to increase ‘simple precautions’ and stay ‘especially vigilant’ in the dark hours to help reduce the risk of arson attacks on their land.
PC Nick Peacock of West Mercia Police said: “Farms can be particularly vulnerable to arson.
“Due to their often isolated locations, open boundaries and readily ignitable straw, it can make them an easy target.
“Arson is a serious criminal offence which can cause serious damage and risk lives. It can also cause huge financial implications for farmers as well as the enormous danger it can pose to people, livestock and neighbouring properties.”
The latest attack took place in the early hours of Saturday morning (November 5) in Cold Hatton where a barn had been ignited. Over 40 firefighters were at the scene.
It came only days after a similar incident less than 10 miles away on farmland in Wistanswick, Market Drayton where an attack saw 600 tonnes of straw and a barn set alight.
NFU mutual said the rise in farm fires had seen a cost increase of 14 per cent last year.
A spokesperson for NFU mutual said: "With arson, we see most cases coming up in the autumn when most of the straw is baled, and the hay is in barns.
“Farmers must try and store straw away from roads, and install alarms and infra-red sensors."
The Shropshire Fire Service and West Mercia Police are holding a meeting on Friday (November 11) to review the recent fires and look towards further advice and a better course of action for long-term fire support.