£250,000 damage bill after farm attack

ARSONISTS who torched two barns in west Suffolk caused more than £250,000 of damage, the police have revealed.

Laurence Cawley

ARSONISTS who torched two barns in west Suffolk caused nearly £240,000 of damage, the police have revealed.

Suffolk police is linking the two barn fires which happened in Nowton and Lawshall near Bury St Edmunds at the weekend.

In the first blaze a Dutch barn was torched in High Green, Nowton, near Bury St Edmunds, at about 12.15am on Saturday. Inside was a vintage combine harvester and other implements.

Yesterday the police said the cost of the damage caused was £230,000.

Speaking to the EADT at the weekend the landowner, who was too worried about the arson attack to be named, condemned the fire-raisers who set light to his barn only minutes after they started a blaze in a building at nearby Lawshall, opposite the gates of Coldham Hall, the country mansion owned by German supermodel Claudia Schiffer and her family.

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The Nowton farmer told how he and his wife were woken by a series of phone calls from worried neighbours who spotted the flames in the early hours of Saturday: “We were asleep upstairs but my wife came downstairs to answer the phone and saw the fire.

“The first thing we did was get the cattle out of the barn and then the fire brigade arrived.”

He said he was relieved no-one had been hurt but said he had lost the 15,000sq m barn and valuable equipment - both vintage and new.

“This kind of thing is just something we will have to live with. We feel devastated and cross about why someone would want to do something like this.

“It's so quiet up here - it's unbelievable someone has done this after doing the same thing only a few miles away.”

At Lawshall, the cost of the damage has been estimated at £8,000.

Fire crews from across Suffolk were involved in the two operations. A spokesman for the fire service said the blaze at Nowton had engulfed 100% of the barn when two crews from Bury arrived on the scene. “The fire also involved fertilizer and a vehicle workshop and the crews requested a further two engines - one from Wickhambrook and one from Ixworth and a water carrier was sent from Newmarket,” he said.

He said at the height of the blaze four officers in breathing gear were involved in the successful battle to stop the flames spreading to the workshop.

Back up was called in from Framlingham, Newmarket, Stowmarket and Sudbury fire stations and officers continued to sift the remains of the wrecked machinery and straw and hay looking for fire pockets for many hours.

The fire at Lawshall involved a similar sized barn and crews from Long Melford and Bury were involved in the initial operation. Relief crews were called in from Hadleigh and Clare and the fire was under control by 4.30am.

Anybody with information about the arson attacks should contact police on 01284 774100.

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