Police increase rural patrols after barn fires

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PATROLS in rural areas have been intensified following four suspected arson attacks at barns which have cost farmers thousands of pounds, police said last night.

Firefighters were called to a large barn fire on York Road at Dunnington, York, at 1.15am yesterday, which destroyed a large stock of straw worth about £8,500.

Shortly afterwards, fires were reported at two other nearby barns – in the Skirpenbeck area of Humberside.

Approximately 400 bales of straw were set alight. A further report was received of a barn fire at 3.10am in a field beside the A64, near Foston, between York and Malton, which saw between 300 and 400 bales of straw go up in flames.

Officers have appealed for witnesses and for anyone with any information to get in touch.

Pc Ruth Atkins, of York safer neighbourhood team, said: “Farmers rely heavily on their stock of straw during the winter months and this will have cost them thousands of pounds, which in today’s financial climate, they can ill-afford. They (the offenders) must be stopped before they do it again.

“Not only does this put their own lives in danger, but also the lives of passing members of the public and those who genuinely need the assistance of the emergency services.”

Anyone with information is asked to call North Yorkshire or Humberside Police on 101.