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Warnings over farm arson

Barn fire (file photo) Credit: PA

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 Investigation Officer Andy Justice

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.

– Chief Inspector Mark Edgington, Avon & Somerset Police

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Police appeal after five incidents of arson reported in one night

Officers from the Neighbourhood Policing Team will be in the area to reassure local people Credit: PA

Police are appealing for witnesses after five incidents of arson on Portland during just one night.

The incidents happened between 4.56pm on Saturday 23 July and 1.03am on Sunday 24 July.

  • 5pm: a fire was reported at a disused show house near The Customs House, Castletown. One small fire was started inside the property and two small fires were started on the grass outside
  • 10pm: a vehicle fire was reported near to Atlantic House, Ayton Drive. A VW Polo was severely damaged
  • 0.41am to 1.03am: three further fires were reported. A Ford Transit van, parked along Castle Road, was severely damaged by fire. The other fires were reported to a hedge in Victoria Square and to some rubbish in Coronation Road.

It is believed accelerant was used in the vehicle fires.

We believe the incidents are connected and are appealing for any witnesses to contact police and report any information that may lead to the identification of those responsible.

“While these incidents are unusual for this area and no one specific was targeted, considerable damage was caused to numerous vehicles.

– Detective Sergeant Jacqui Gravenor, of Weymouth CID

Tanker driver jailed for 7 years for arson attack

A man from Yeovil has been sentenced to 7 years in prison after pleading guilty to the arson of his family home in Wool in Dorset last January. Hugh Billington drove a fuel tanker into the bungalow and then set fire to the tanker before running away. He was later captured and arrested.

Billington drove the fuel tanker into the house before setting it on fire and running away Credit: ITV Westcountry

Tanker driver jailed for 7 years for arson attack

A man from Yeovil has been sentenced to 7 years in prison after pleading guilty to the arson of his family home in Wool in Dorset last January. Hugh Billington drove a fuel tanker into the bungalow and then set fire to the tanker before running away. He was later captured and arrested.

Billington drove the fuel tanker into the house before setting it on fire and running away Credit: ITV Westcountry

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Truro contractor due in court for confiscation of assets

Jack Harvey ran a plant hire firm and was jailed for 12 years in 2010 Credit: ITV Westcountry

A contractor from Truro is due in court today to have his assets confiscated. Jack Harvey ran a plant hire firm and was jailed for 12 years in 2010 for arson and intimidation of rival firms.

He was found guilty of a series of attacks on the heavy equipment of competitors and receiving stolen goods.

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