Arsonists lead firefighters on trail

A time-wasting arsonist led fire crews on a chase across farmland near Ipswich.Two crews were needed to deal with a series of fires along Bobbitts Lane last night when bales of hay were set alight one after the other.

A time-wasting arsonist led fire crews on a chase across farmland near Ipswich.

Two crews were needed to deal with a series of fires along Bobbitts Lane last night when bales of hay were set alight one after the other.

A crew from Princes Street was called to a report of one bale alight at 10.10pm but as soon as they had dealt with that blaze, reports of another fire further along the adjoining field came through.

A second crew was needed once the firefighters realised someone was setting fire to more bales for each one they put out.


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In total, five bales of hay, each one five foot high by four foot wide, were set alight.

Police were also called to the scene and the force helicopter was used to search the area.

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Leading firefighter Perry Smith said the first fire was near to Stoke Park Drive and the arsonist then walked further away down Bobbitts Lane to start the next blazes.

"It became obvious that someone was walking down away from us, lighting them as they went," he said.

"It was tying up our time for no real reason at all – we were tied up for quite some considerable time."

Mr Smith said such fires meant crews would be unable to deal with serious incidents, such as a road collision or house fire.

"You have to be aware how much it ties up pumps and personnel on an incident that is needless. It is wasting our time when we might need to be helping someone else and there will be a delay getting somewhere else that really needs us."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police confirmed a search was made using the force helicopter at 11pm last night, but nobody has been found.

She said police are treating the fires as arson and are appealing for witnesses to contact Pc Joanne West on 01473 643500.

Hay fires were also tackled by crews in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire last night.

In March, Cambridgeshire, 60 tons of hay were alight in Hook's Drove.

A crew was first called to the scene at 8.11pm and the fire was reported to be under control by 11.15pm.

In Wickhampton, Norfolk, 90 tons of baled hay were alight at 5.10pm. A team of firefighters was still tackling the incident at 9pm.

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