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Warning issued to farmers after spate of rural arson attacks

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Farmers have been warned to be vigilant after a spate of arson on farmland.

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Farmers warned of threat of rural fires after spate of arson attacks #ruralcrime

Alistair Hodnett, 44, said his 121-hectare (300-acre) mixed farm in rural Dundee had been targeted three times in the space of five days in what he said were deliberate attacks.

 

He said he thought it had become a ‘bit of a craze’.

 

“Whoever it was seemed hell-bent on causing damage,” Mr Hodnett said.

 

“Whilst we have been lucky not to suffer any major damage, we have 12 ha (30 acres) of carrots growing under straw and that is what worries me.

 

“It does not bare thinking about.”

 

Mr Hodnett said each blaze left him frantic about potential harm to his wheat, barley, carrot and potato crops, as well as the possible effect on his 200 sheep and cattle if the arsonists were to strike again.

 

Precautions

Some of his winter wheat had already been battered after a fire engine had to ‘drive straight through it’ to extinguish the flames during the spell between May 4 and 8.

 

It came just over a week before a farm in Walshaw, Bury, was hit by a suspected arson attack which wiped out a barn of hay storage.

 

More than 30 firefighters were called to scene to tackle the blaze and safely evacuate the farm’s pigs and cows.

 

NFU deputy president Minette Batters added: “It is important that farmers and authorities take the necessary precautions and remain vigilant to help reduce the risk of deliberate fires.

 

“Measures such as assessing your farm for risks, taking steps to remove risks and other actions such as maintaining firefighting equipment and a prepared fire action plan can go a long way to ensuring you are as prepared as possible in the event of a fire.

 

“Farmers should only attempt to fight the fire if it is safe to do so.”

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