Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Suspicious Lothian farm fires investigated

Image caption Police said the fires had "the potential to endanger lives"

A series of suspicious fires at farms in East Lothian and Midlothian are being investigated by the police.

Since late August, a total of six fields have been targeted in Longniddry, Haddington, Aberlady, East Linton, Tranent and Midlothian.

The fires destroyed more than 200 bales of hay valued over £5,000. Lothian and Borders Police are calling for witnesses to come forward.

The police said the fires had "the potential to endanger lives".

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "Officers are currently investigating whether these incidents are linked and are eager to hear from anyone with information that can help identify those responsible.

"These fires not only had the potential to endanger lives of the suspects and anyone in the immediate areas, but they have had a significant financial impact upon the farmers.

"Anyone who sees any suspicious activity in or around farmlands is asked to contact police immediately."

John Picken, National Farmers Union Scotland vice-president, said: "There is an overall crime wave in rural areas which is extremely worrying for all those who live and work in our countryside.

"Farmers are increasingly vigilant about taking measures that will deter thieves and vandals, including locking gates, securing vehicles, relocating fuel stores and keeping things under lock and key.

"It is worth all farmers considering the measures they can take to protect their property."

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