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Barn fire in Norfolk village being treated as arson

PUBLISHED: 13:03 26 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:03 26 April 2019

Farmer Kit Papworth has expressed frustration that there is little farmers can do against such arson attacks. Picture: Denise Bradley

Farmer Kit Papworth has expressed frustration that there is little farmers can do against such arson attacks. Picture: Denise Bradley

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A farmer is calling on police to catch the people behind two arson attacks in north Norfolk.

Crews attended the scene in Swanton Abbott Road, Skeyton from about 10.40pm last night. Pictured, Swanton Abbott Road. Photo: Google StreetviewCrews attended the scene in Swanton Abbott Road, Skeyton from about 10.40pm last night. Pictured, Swanton Abbott Road. Photo: Google Streetview

Police are investigating a possible link between the incidents which occurred on Wednesday, April 24 and Thursday, April 25.

Eight fire pumps attended a blaze at a dutch barn at RW Randell and Sons in Swanton Abbott Road, Skeyton from about 10.40pm on Thursday.

No-one at the farm wished to comment only to say: “No-one was injured and no pigs were lost.”

A Norfolk police spokesman said: “We were called by the fire service.

The fire at Burgh-next-Aylsham on Wednesday night. Picture: submitted.The fire at Burgh-next-Aylsham on Wednesday night. Picture: submitted.

“It is being investigated and treated as arson. Straw was set alight. The value of the loss is not yet known.”

A Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Eight pumps were there. We received a call at 10.40pm to an agricultural fire. Eight pumps attended because there was a risk that the fire might spread to a nearby piggery.

“The crews left in the early hours.”

Appliances from Aylsham, Mundesley, North Walsham, Sprowston, Stalham and Wroxham attended.

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The East of England ambulance service was also called but did not need to attend.

It comes after a suspected arson at Burgh-next-Aylsham, which is about three miles away.

About 200 tonnes of straw caught fire in a stack in The Street, at about 8pm on Wednesday.

A Norfolk police spokesman said they were investigating a possible link between the two incidents.

Fire engines from Aylsham and Wroxham were called to the blaze in Burgh-next-Aylsham shortly after 8pm in a stack near to the road.

The straw was to be used by farmer Kit Papworth as animal bedding.

Mr Papworth, managing director of LF Papworth Ltd, said: “There is very little we can do in rural communities against this. The police need to catch the people doing it.

“The fire was a waste of resources for the fire and rescue service and very disappointing for us to lose 200 tonnes of bedding in such a way.”

The fire comes at a time when rural crime is on the rise in Norfolk with a recent spate of thefts of equipment from farms.

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