ARSONISTS have cost a farmer tens of thousands of pounds after setting alight 3,000 bales of straw.
The blaze on Friday night is devastating for John Bristow, who has spent many back-breaking, tiring evenings harvesting and baling the straw at his farm in Pointon.
Mr Bristow, 54, was alerted to the fire by a neighbour who spotted the flames. But although in the early stages, the flames soon took hold of the dry straw and in minutes the entire stack was ablaze. He said: “It goes up almost instantly. It was a big area and it happened very quick.
“I was concerned that the next stack would burn and spread to the yard. It’s bad enough what has happened but it could have got a lot worse. We were a bit gifted with the weather.”
As well as the 3,000 bales of straw, the fire also destroyed a 40ft trailer, a caravan and equipment. It burned through to Monday afternoon, causing Mr Bristow and his sons sleepless nights as they helped to contain it.
Although haystacks are frequently targeted in rural areas, Mr Bristow believes someone with an agenda is behind this particular arson attack.
He said: “When you’ve got a stack on the side of the A52 or on fairly busy back roads, that’s more of a passing by racers who think it’s just a laugh and a joke. But if someone makes a beeline for the back of your land across fields, then they haven’t done it for a joke.
“It will cause us difficulties, but we will have to persevere and carry on in life.”
Lincolnshire Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
Pc Jon Putnam said: “We would appreciate it if members of the public could contact us if they saw any suspicious people or vehicles in the area around those times. We would also be very grateful if they could remain vigilant in rural areas with haystacks in the vicinity.
“This is not a victimless crime as the farmer who owns the stack stands to lose thousands of pounds.”
Information to police on 0300 111 0300 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111