DEVON AND CORNWALL Police have called for people living in the countryside to be extra vigilant after a spate of suspicious barn fires and vehicle thefts in the area.

Over the summer between four and six barns have burnt down, said PC Dave Thomas, of the Arson Task Force.

“Farmers and communities should be aware and report anything suspicious.”

Property and vehicles should be locked up to discourage people from entering land, he added.

About six caravans and four trailers had been stolen over the past two months, along with a couple of cars, said PC Jon Needham.

“Farmers are notorious for leaving keys in ignitions,” he said.

This could invalidate insurance policies. Clamping or removing wheels and tow hitches also acted as a good deterrent, he added.