Fire chiefs warn arsonists after four straw stack and hedge fires in 24 hours

PUBLISHED: 13:33 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 09:13 02 June 2010

FIRE chiefs have issued warnings after arsonists targeted straw stacks and hedges across Fenland four times in 24 hours. Arson is a serious criminal offence and anyone caught starting fires deliberately will face prosecution, said Christ Strickland, Dep

FIRE chiefs have issued warnings after arsonists targeted straw stacks and hedges across Fenland four times in 24 hours.

"Arson is a serious criminal offence and anyone caught starting fires deliberately will face prosecution," said Christ Strickland, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The four incidents saw:

A fire in a haystack measuring 400 metres by 200 metres in Main Road, Parson Drove, at 3.10pm Monday.

A hedge fire in Main Road, Parson Drove, at 5.10pm Monday.

A large bale of straw set alight off Begdale Road, Elm, at 3.20am Tuesday.

A one-tonne straw bale and 50 metres of stubble set alight off Manea Road, Wimblington, at 3.20pm Tuesday.

Mr Strickland said: "Arson can be a problem during the summer as the warm, dry days and long, warm evenings provide potential arsonists with the ideal conditions to set fire to hedges, straw stacks and grass.

"Fire is extremely unpredictable and can move extremely quickly in any direction. A fire started in a haystack could start a blaze that destroys acres of countryside, crops or wildlife. It could even spread to the homes of those living nearby, putting the lives of those inside at serious risk.

"Also, while firefighters are dealing with a straw stack fire, they could be deterred from attending another incident, such as a serious road traffic collision, or a house fire elsewhere, again, putting lives at risk.

"If anyone knows of someone who has committed arson, they should inform the police on 0345 456 4564.


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