Straw stack warning

Crime & Court News from the Fenland Citizen,, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Crime & Court News from the Fenland Citizen,, @FenlandCit on Twitter

Police are teaming up with partner agencies in a bid to crack down on straw stack fires.

Officers are working with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch and the National Farmers’ Union to launch Operation Armitage.

PC Robin Smith said: “These fires cost businesses thousands of pounds and also cause huge disruption to rural communities and motorists.

“We are using a range of tactics, including the use of covert equipment, to identify and catch anyone committing this type of crime.

“Offenders will be arrested and face being taken to court. However, there is also an important safety issue to consider. Those responsible are not only risking their own lives but potentially the lives of others.”

Arson Liaison Officer at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Martin Boome said: “We take a dim view of 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 resources for several hours, which means people starting them 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.

“Intelligence on possible offenders is being built, not only from incidents that have occurred but also from within the community.”

The number of stack fires across the county has fallen year on year with just 12 incidents in 2012/13 compared with 31 in 2009/10. Emergency services are working closely with partner agencies to make sure this figure stays as low as possible.

Any information regarding suspects or suspicious activities around straw stacks should be reported to police by calling 101, 999 in an emergency or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555111.