Barn fire cause suspicious say police

The cause of a huge blaze which destroyed machinery and bales on a Sussex farm is being treated as “suspicious”.

The fire broke out at the farm near Ashburnham, East Sussex, shortly before 11pm on Monday 25 August. A police spokesman said an investigation was already under way and early findings suggested the cause was suspicious.

At its height firefighters from seven stations across East Sussex fought to stop the blaze reaching nearby buildings and housing.

East Sussex and Surrey Fire and Rescue said the fire had taken a lot of resources, including six appliances and one water carrier, to bring it under control.

See also: Fire toll rising in East Yorkshire

A spokeswoman for the service added that no one had been injured but a 20m x 50m structure containing machinery and hay bales had been severely damaged.

The fire came just days after a Farmers Weekly report highlighted the growing problem of farm fires.

The report showed that the cost of farm fires had soared to more than £50m/year, eclipsing the cost of rural crime to agricultural businesses.

Rural insurer NFU Mutual said the cost in England had risen by nearly £6m over the past three years, with up to 1,600 buildings and millions of pounds worth of crops and straw going up in smoke.

Further investigation by Farmers Weekly into fire callouts across England, also suggested a further rise in 2014.

Figures supplied by 16 fire services revealed that since June there had been close to 300 callouts to farm-based incidents.

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