Arsonists target farming museum

THE YORKSHIRE Museum of Farming at Murton Park, near York, has suffered another arson attack – the eighth attack by vandals in the last two weeks.

In the latest incident, the museum‘s Celtic settlement was targeted by intruders who set fire to a 10-metre long wooden roundhouse.

Amanda Clarke, an administrator at the popular visitor attraction, said that the fire was believed to have been started by a man who was spotted trespassing on the site by historic battle re-enactors who were camping at the museum.

The man fled but it is believed he returned and started the blaze.

Mrs Clarke lamented the loss of the roundhouse. “It will take many weeks to rebuild,” she said. “It‘s not so much its value but the affect of yet another attack on staff morale.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said two crews from York raced to the museum after the alarm was raised at about 1am.

They eventually brought the fire under control using axes, having found themselves unable to get their hoses close enough to the burning hut.

There were unconfirmed reports of a car leaving the scene at high speed, he added.

The museum has suffered a catalogue of arson attacks in recent years.

In January 2003, vandals caused damage totalling £4,000 when they set fire to a Viking longhouse.

The blaze completely destroyed the 45ft long and 18ft wide building and its contents and also spread to two nearby huts, destroying the roof of one of them.

Another two Viking houses were torched on November 8, 2002, and three days later another hut was destroyed along with a stack of railway sleepers and a brick shed.

Anyone with information about the latest incident is asked to phone North Yorkshire police on 01904 631321.