Crackdown on stack fires

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POLICE are joining forces with the fire service to tackle straw stack arson.

Officers from the Rural Community Action Team (RCAT) are teaming up with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue and Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch to launch Operation Armitage tackling Straw Stack Fires.

PC Robin Smith, who is leading the operation said: “RCAT continues to support the rural community with partner agencies, and any person found committing arson will be dealt with.

“These fires cost businesses thousands of pounds and have a dramatic effect on the rural community. With weather conditions leading to a shortage of hay this year it is vital that we crack down on these offenders.

“There is also an important safety issue to consider. Those responsible are not only risking their own lives but potentially the lives of others.”

Martin Boome, Arson Investigation Unit Officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “The Fire Service takes a strong view about any kind of fire which is started deliberately - including stack fires. This type of fire has the potential to kill not only those in the nearby vicinity, but also the arsonists themselves.

“A stack fire can tie up fire and police service resources for several hours, which means that people starting these fires deliberately are impacting on our response to other emergency calls.

“We are working closely with the police to reduce this type of fire and to bring offenders to justice.”

Any suspicious activities around straw stacks should be reported to police on 0345-4564564 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.