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Dorset Fire and Rescue Service is issuing a warning to farmers to keep their eyes and ears open for possible arsonists after a significant rise in barn fires across rural areas of Dorset.
In September 2011, crews from Dorchester, Bridport, Maiden Newton, Bridport and Beaminster dealt with a believed arson attack at a farm in Lower Burton, just outside Dorchester.
Approximately 100 tonnes of straw and hay along with the barn and farm machinery was destroyed during this incident.
Not only can farming business be adversely affected, smoke damaged materials will not sell, but there is also a danger to livestock.
Service Delivery Manager for Dorset, Group Manager Alun Morgan said:
"We are asking farmers and farm workers to keep a close eye out for anything suspicious, especially unusual activity like parked cars or strangers.
"Dorset Fire and Rescue Service would recommend that security lights are installed and that farmers regularly check their remote outbuildings.
"There is often a pattern leading up to a barn fire, for example small burns in the local area which may have burnt out without the fire service being called.
"These will be known to locals but not reported to Dorset Fire and Rescue Service.
"Anyone who sees something suspicious or persons attempting to light fires should call the police immediately.
"If you see a fire please call 999 and report this to the fire service and police with as much information as you can give. Please also remain at the scene to direct us, where it is possible and safe to do so.
"If you have any information about arson please call the charity Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555 111."