'Mindless' series of fires cause more than half a million pounds worth of damage in Harrogate

A derelict barn on Cow Dyke Farm which was damaged in one of the fires
A derelict barn on Cow Dyke Farm which was damaged in one of the fires

More than half a million pounds worth of damage has been caused by a series of fires in Harrogate , says the officer leading an investigation into the 'mindless and dangerous' offences.

At Cow Dyke Farm two cases of arson and criminal have been confirmed, with further fires since occurring out at Know Hill Farm and most recently on farmland near Cow Dyke Bridge on Wednesday, January 31.

DC Paul Smith of the Harrogate Investigation Hub is leading North Yorkshire Police's efforts and has urged for witnesses to come forward and help bring those responsible to face the 'full force of the law'.

He said:“We urge anyone who has witnessed suspicious activity in the area, or who has seen the fires, to get in touch.

“The total cost of the damage caused by the fires is more than five hundred thousand pounds. But fires can also cost lives. The people causing these fires are putting not only others, but themselves in grave danger.

“These crimes are mindless, dangerous and can have catastrophic consequences. We are doing all we can to find out who is responsible, and when we do we will ensure they face the full force of the law.”

A derelict bungalow was set on fire on the Cow Dyke Farm site last year, while the most recent incident in January saw 70 per cent of a derelict barn damaged.

Firefighters from both Harrogate and Boroughbridge responded to the most recent fire near Cow Dyke Bridge, which was initially reported as a barn on fire. However it was found a small amount of rubbish had been set on fire inside a shed.

The blaze however destroyed the shed, spreading to a nearby hedge. Crews were able to extinguish it with a hose reel jet.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "We have been to a number of deliberate fires in the area of Cowdyke farm, and are working alongside North Yorkshire Police and other agencies.

"We would advise members of the public to report any suspicious behaviour or activity to North Yorkshire Police, and to ensure that outbuildings and properties are secure."

If you have information call 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.