Farm arsonist starts three fires in 24 hours

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The Independent Online
A farm arsonist is feared to have started three more blazes in the last 24 hours. Fifteen blazes have now been started since September on farms in south-east Cornwall - with damage estimated about pounds 750,000.

Now there are fears that farmers may turn to vigilante action to catch the arsonist. Anthony Gibson, regional director of the National Farmers' Union, said yesterday: "Farmers are so angry there is talk of organising shotgun patrols."

Keith Barrett, whose barn was set ablaze yesterday, said that some farmers who found someone on their property "will act first and ask questions afterwards".

Mr Barrett, who farms near Duloe, went on: "It could be life at risk next time." The fire was only yards from occupied holiday cottages.

Half an hour earlier, a store and contents were destroyed by fire three miles away at Pelynt, near Looe. And on New Year's Day pounds 50,000 worth of damage was caused in another barn fire at Kellow farm, near Looe, said the police.