A Ludford farmer who has been the victim of arson twice in two years feels warnings to guard against deliberate fires is not enough.
Following advice issued by Lincolnshire Police to encourage farmers to be vigilant, Gordon Stanley says he has felt unsupported after two attacks causing thousands of pounds worth of damage on his land.
He said: “Having suffered at the hands of arsonists twice in the last two years, I have found the police totally unhelpful with any support - before an incident and any follow up after the fires.”
Mr Stanley, 67, of Gallybrook Farm, suffered a major incident two days before Christmas last year when thousands of pounds worth of straw bales went up in smoke on his land at Ludford Airfield.
He said: “Not long before, I had rung up the police because I’d discovered someone had been on my trailer down there causing mischief. They’d thrown off the wooden pallets and smashed indicator lights. I asked them to send out a PCSO as I thought if there was more police prescence around the airfield it would deter people from going up there. The area is fenced off but it doesn’t stop people climbing over the gates. The police said they would get back to me but they never did.
“The year before I had another fire on land at North Hornsby where they attacked a stack of bale ready to bring home, also causing thousands of pounds of damage.
“The police rang me and said they were looking into it and a week or two later they rang up and said they had no leads and that it would get put onto file.”
The land at Ludford is privately owned by Mr Stanley - and he says no one should be entering the site without his permission.
He added: “The prevention advice they offer is only stating the obvious and is the standard stuff we get from the NFU (National Farmers Union).
“This only strengthens my belief that the £200 we are forced to pay each year for the police service by way of council tax is poor value for money.”
A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “Farms are particularly vulnerable to arson. Their isolated location, open boundaries and large amounts of ignitable hay and straw make them an easy target but some simple precautions can help to reduce the risk of arson on your farm.”
They offered the following advice:
l Remove hay and straw from fields as soon as possible after harvesting. Store it in separate buildings, away from fuels, agrochemicals, machinery and livestock.
l Store petrol, diesel, fertilisers, pesticides and other fuels in secure areas.
l Padlock your storage tank outlets.
l Dispose of waste and refuse safely and on a regular basis.
l Maintain and repair buildings, fencing or gates on a regular basis.
l Install intruder sensors and security lighting.
l Replace or re-site security and warning notices.
l Maintain fire-fighting equipment and make regular checks that they are in good order.
l Dogs and geese can give effective early warning of intruders. However, do not allow guard dogs to roam free.
l Prepare a fire routine and action plan and make sure all farm workers know what to do.
l Sign up to Farm and Country Business Watch and report any suspicious activity.