DJ Sara Cox speaks out after farm arson attack

Radio 2 DJ Sara Cox has thanked firefighters after arsonists targeted her father’s farm near Bolton, Greater Manchester.

The BBC Drivetime presenter spoke out on social media following the arson attack, which happened over the weekend (2-3 February).

See also: Farm fires cost industry more than rural crime

“Huge thanks to @FireBolton crew for helping my dad last night when a gang of young idiots set fire to his haylage, destroying it,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Farms aren’t playgrounds for bored kids – police haven’t been able to help, struggling to find a solution. Just want my dad and his property kept safe.

A crew from Farnworth Fire Station is believed to have attended the incident at Little Lever, south-east of Bolton.

Ms Cox’s message was “liked” more than 3,000 times – and received dozens of messages of support from well-wishers, including farmers who have also been targeted by arsonists.

Cheryl Woods wrote: “Thoughts are with your family. Winter is hard enough without someone destroying a autumn’s work.

“We lost two silos and a byre about 20 years ago in a fire. I can still see the devastation on my Daddy’s face. The fire brigade at home were amazing as well.”

Lesley Wood wrote: “Farmers have a hard enough time as it is without this sort of mindless vandalism.”

Some supporters highlighted similar incidents.

Fire service chiefs suggest that 1,700 farm buildings and more than 25,000ha of grassland are destroyed by fire every year in the UK.

Half are started deliberately – with some 40% of businesses that suffer arson attacks never trading successfully again.

Arson attacks on farms and smallholdings can be particularly difficult to eliminate due to their often isolated nature and open boundaries.

Farmers are advised to make sure they are a member of a local FarmWatch scheme – or similar initiative where available – and report any suspicious activity to police.

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