RESIDENTS are being urged to stay vigilant following several barn fires across the region recently.
North Yorkshire Police and the Fire and Rescue Service were called at 1.13am last Thursday to reports of a large barn fire on York Road, Dunnington, which destroyed a large stock of straw worth around £8,500.
Shortly afterwards, there were two other barn fires in close proximity to each other near Skirpenbeck, when around 400 bales of straw were set alight.
At 3.10am the same day, a further report was received of a barn fire in a field next to the A64 near Foston, between York and Malton. Around 300 to 400 bales of straw were set alight.
Police are appealing for witnesses and for anyone with any information to contact them without delay.
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.
“It is vital that whoever is responsible is brought to justice and I am urging anyone who saw the fires take hold or has any other information to contact the police as a matter of urgency.
“They 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.
“We’ll be stepping up rural patrols in the area, but we also need the help of members of the public. I am therefore appealing to farmers and rural residents to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to the police, no matter how insignificant they think it is.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call North Yorkshire Police or Humberside Police on 101 and pass information to the force control room. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you see a crime in progress or your safety is threatened call 999.