Firefighters are warning farmers in East Devon to be on alert for arsonists - as three barn fires in two weeks are believed to have been started deliberately.

The three fires happened within a mile’s radius of the crossroads at Putts Corner on the A375 – the crossroads links Honiton, Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary, Seaton.

Fire investigators believe it is likely that all three were started deliberately.

The incidents occurred at Farway, Southleigh and Sidbury.

All were farm outbuildings (two barns, one stable building) with no power or ignition sources present.

Group commander Shaun Davis, of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We’re concerned about this recent spate of farm fires around East Devon.

"Barn fires can quickly escalate and spread to other nearby buildings, increasing the risk to life for not only animals, but people too.

“We are asking farmers and farm managers to act with vigilance at the moment to try to reduce these fires happening.

"We want to prevent any further fires before someone is seriously hurt.”

Anyone with information that could assist police with their investigations should call 101. Alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Tips to reduce the risk of arson on farms

  • Check fencing security, and repair or replace damaged fencing or gates.
  • Install intruder sensors and security lighting.
  • Maintain security of outbuildings.
  • Keep firefighting equipment in good order.
  • General farm fire safety
  • Keep escape routes clear at all times and keep all areas free from rubbish, oily cloths and other combustible materials.
  • Ensure that your family and employees know what to do in the event of a fire. Make sure everyone knows where the nearest phone is. Carry a mobile phone at all times, especially if working alone.
  • Keep firefighting equipment in good working order and ensure it is serviced regularly. Ensure it can be accessed easily at all times and that everyone is aware where it is located.
  • Make sure that the entrance to your farm is clearly signposted and keep all access routes clear for emergency vehicles.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service also recommends that you have an animal evacuation plan for your livestock in the event of a fire.

Read more about how to protect farms and agricultural buildings from fire on the fire service's website here.