Suffolk swelters in 27C heat

ON the beach, at a barbecue or simply lazing in the back garden were the places to be at the weekend as Suffolk and Essex sweltered in the summer sunshine.

Richard Cornwell

ON the beach, at a barbecue or simply lazing in the back garden were the places to be at the weekend as Suffolk and Essex sweltered in the summer sunshine.

With temperatures well above average, events across the county enjoyed big crowds as people made the most of the fine weather.

But there was a downside to the dry spell, with firefighters dealing with many grass, heath and field fires - prompting officers to urge the public to be extra careful when out and about in the countryside.

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Temperatures in Suffolk reached 27C - well above the August average of 21C - with clear blue skies everywhere.

Chris Bell, of Weatherquest, said: “Temperatures have been pretty much above average every single day of the summer, though we have had some cloudy days and periods of rain, and Suffolk and Norfolk have enjoyed some of the best weather.

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“One of the other good things this summer is that most of the fine weather has come at the weekends.”

Over the next few days, temperatures will be around 21C to 24C but more changeable with the chance of showers - Wednesday could be breezy as the remnants of an Atlantic hurricane sweep across.

However, it meant a busy weekend for fire crews. There were called to tackle grass and undergrowth fires at Shottisham, Martlesham Heath, Felixstowe and Great Barton.

Five crews - from Southwold, Halesworth, Wrentham, Saxmundham and Leiston - also dealt with three acres of gorse alight off Blackheath Road near Wenhaston.

Suffolk Fire Service group manager Dave Pedersen said: “It's exceptionally dry and we would urge people to be extremely careful and extra vigilant when out and about enjoying the countryside.”

Firefighters were also called to deal with hundreds of tons of straw ablaze after arsonists caused three farm fires within a few miles of each other.

All the incidents are being treated as suspicious and are being investigated by police.

The first happened around 12.30am yesterday when a fire crew was called to 25 tons of straw bales on fire in Bardwell Road, Ixworth.

Ten minutes later they received another call to Bardwell Road at Sapiston, where 500 tons of straw was alight. Crews from Bury St Edmunds and Thetford and a water carrier from Newmarket attended and spent most of the night at the scene, damping down.

At 4am, there was a third fire - this time in Norwich Lane, Coney Weston. A fire crew from East Harling dealt with 200 tons of straw alight.

Crews were also called about 1.40am on Saturday to deal with a large hay bale set alight by arsonists near the junction of Red House Lane and Aldeburgh Road, Leiston.

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