hay stack© Tim Scrivener

A spate of arson attacks has prompted police to issue advice to farmers about protecting their straw stacks this harvest season.

Norfolk constabulary want farmers to work with rural police in an effort to catch arsonists who cause thousands of pounds of damage.

Detective Constable Andy Brown called on farmers and the wider rural community to report any suspicious behaviour to police.

See also: Warning over spate of farm arson attacks

“Each year we see a number of arsons in the region,” said DC Brown.

“In an attempt to tackle these we have met with our partners at the NFU to pull together some important crime prevention advice.”

Farmers should “Just remember SPACE,” said Mr Brown, outlining five points, each beginning with a letter from the word “space”.

1. Stacks – Ensure your stacks are not close to the roadside, forcing an arsonist into a wide open space will be less appealing to them.

Have smaller stacks, losing a smaller stack will have a lesser impact on your business than losing a large stack.

Refer to your insurance policy as you may find you will only be covered for a maximum amount and may be obliged to place your stacks at a set distance from the roadside.

2. Patrols – Instruct your staff to conduct roaming patrols at various times of the day and night, recording the registrations and descriptions of any vehicles or people seen acting suspiciously.

3. Arson – In the event of an arson dial 999, monitor any onlookers, noting descriptions and vehicles. 

Offenders will often return to watch the commotion that follows; remain vigilant and discuss your observations with the Fire Service and Police at the scene.

4. Cameras – Make use of wildlife cameras; they are very affordable, do not require electricity and can be used throughout the rest of the year helping to protect other areas of your business.

5. Evidence – Report your suspicions to us immediately so that police can promptly investigate.