Fire crews in the South West have issued a warning after a spate of arson attacks on farm buildings.
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and Avon & Somerset Police have been investigating a series of barn fires in the last few weeks and have concluded that they were started deliberately.
Farms are particularly vulnerable to a deliberate fire with their isolated location, open boundaries, readily ignitable hay and straw stacks making them an easy target.
Fire crews and the police say they take incidents of arson extremely seriously and are encouraging people to survey their farmland and carry out the following steps if needed...
- Provide, repair or replace damaged fencing or gates.
- Install intruder sensors and security lighting.
- Maintain security of outbuildings.
- Replace or re-site security and warning notices.
- Maintain firefighting equipment in good order.
We take incidents of arson extremely seriously. They have huge financial implications for farmers in addition to the enormous danger they pose to people and livestock.
We will work with our partners to identify those responsible and they will be dealt with robustly.
There's a battle brewing in the countryside following a Government decision to divert European subsidies away from payments to farmers, and spend them on environmental schemes instead.
But it seems the decision hasn't pleased anyone.
Farmers fear changing the subsidies could mean they struggle against their European counterparts.
But environmentalists say the decision doesn't go far enough to protect wildlife.
John Andrews has been assessing the potential impact of the changes.
The south west's small farmers are hoping for good news on grants today.
The government is expected to switch more money from the European Common Agricultural Policy to grants for looking after the landscape and wildlife.
The south west gets more money than any other region for so-called environmental stewardship schemes.