Search for arsonists after two village barn fires

PUBLISHED: 06:31 06 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:34 24 May 2010

POLICE say two barn fires could have cost lives after they were deliberately set alight in the early hours of the morning. The two arson attacks on barns in Rodney Stoke and Cocklake happened minutes apart on Friday (June 23). Two fire engines from Chedda

POLICE say two barn fires could have cost lives after they were deliberately set alight in the early hours of the morning.The two arson attacks on barns in Rodney Stoke and Cocklake happened minutes apart on Friday (June 23).Two fire engines from Cheddar and Wells were called to the blaze at Edcombe Farm in Rodney Stoke at 4.35am.The small building was left severely damaged after firefighters put out the fire.Firefighters then rushed to the blaze at Riverside Farm, in Bartletts Bridge, and were joined by colleagues from Burnham, Cheddar, Bridgwater, Wells and Street at 5.03am.The barn and 75 tonnes of hay were completely destroyed by the attack and left firefighters working into the afternoon to prevent the fire spreading.Police officers are investigating both blazes after an accelerant was found at both scenes. They have not ruled out a link between the two attacks.Fire service investigation teams and a trained dog from Avon Fire Service was used to identify what chemicals were used in the attack.Witnesses saw a scruffy looking man with a ponytail drive off in a red Vauxhall Nova shortly before the barn in Cocklake went up in flames.Sgt Peter Yensen said: "We're investigating both these barn fires that were deliberately ignited."These acts are malicious and costly to farmers who are not the richest people in the world. There's also a danger in the dry summer weather that these fires could spread to residential areas and endanger lives.

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