Scottish farmers have been warned to be extra vigilant after a spate of suspicious farm fires in Perthshire and Angus have caused at least £600,000 of damage in the past three weeks.
A police investigation has been launched into a massive fire at Binns Farm, Fowlis, where the blaze is thought to have caused £300,000 of damage at the weekend.
Three other farms near Blairgowrie have also suffered fires and local NFU Scotland group secretary Jonathan Barclay said there were suspicions that they had been started deliberately.
“One was definitely malicious and the other two are still being investigated,” he said. “Hay sheds appear to have been targeted and once they go up in flames it’s a total loss. The damage runs to around £100,000 on each farm, which means big problems for farmers at this time of year. We’re now seeing large claims coming in.”
Mr Barclay said some of the blazes started in sheds or steadings that were out of sight of the main farmsteads. And he called on farmers to be as active as possible in protecting their property.
“It’s exceedingly difficult to stop something like this but if your sheds are in easy view of the road, deter arsonists as much as you can by putting up security lights and cameras or fences,” he said.
“Talk to your neighbours and make full use the Farm Watch scheme.”