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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Services warn farmers to be vigilant after a spate of fires

10/11/2016

Staffordshire and Shropshire fire and rescue services are warning farmers to be extra vigilant following a spate of deliberate blazes on the counties’ borders.

"Fire crews have attended a range of incidents that have been deliberately started, from barn fires to hay bales being set alight and vehicle blazes. These fires have the potential to be extremely hazardous for local residents, farm workers, fire and rescue service personnel and the environment. They also put a huge strain on operational resources and can have a devastating impact on the rural economy as a whole as well as on the individual farmers who have been affected."

Prevention Manager Carmel Warren from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Fire Crime Officer, Derek Taylor, from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

A series of incidents have occurred on the border between the two counties in the Newport and Market Drayton areas. The fires have involved barns, vehicles bales of hay and straw.

These fires which have been started deliberately not only divert vital frontline services away from other, potentially life-threatening situations including house fires and road traffic collisions, they also put crews, farmers, local residents and wildlife at risk.

The two Services have issued the following advice to farmers in a bid to prevent such incidents occurring:

• Remain vigilant to suspicious vehicles/activity – particularly in the early hours – and report anything unusual to the police

• Ensure barns and other outbuildings are secured where possible

• Ensure vehicles and machinery are not stored in close proximity to combustibles where farm layouts allow

• Ensure that fertiliser is stored separately from combustibles where possible in case a fire does occur

• If residents discover a fire, ring 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service and the Police if required

Prevention Manager Carmel Warren from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Fire Crime Officer, Derek Taylor, from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service have issued the following joint statement:

"Staffordshire and Shropshire fire and rescue services would like to make farmers and the wider rural community aware of a recent rise in the number of farm fires in the Newport and Market Drayton areas.

"Fire crews have attended a range of incidents that have been deliberately started, from barn fires to hay bales being set alight and vehicle blazes. These fires have the potential to be extremely hazardous for local residents, farm workers, fire and rescue service personnel and the environment. They also put a huge strain on operational resources and can have a devastating impact on the rural economy as a whole as well as on the individual farmers who have been affected.

"It may seem like harmless fun to those engaging in this anti-social activity but the consequences really can be life changing, both for them if they are caught and prosecuted, and for the communities they are targeting. The fact is that when crews are responding to deliberate incidents that need never have occurred, someone could need rescuing from a house fire or a road traffic collision. In those cases, the impact can be life-changing, or even worse."