Police hunting teenagers after arson attack on hay bales at farm

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POLICE are trying to trace three teenage boys after an arson attack on a farm.

A large quantity of hay bales at Cleadon Hills Farm, in Sunniside Lane, Cleadon, were set on fire last Sunday.

Officers are treating the blaze, which happened at 1.45pm, as arson and investigations are continuing.

They are now keen to trace three teenage boys, dressed in white, who were seen leaving the area at the time of the fire.

However, they – and fire chiefs – are also sending out a stark message that this and other similar arson attacks could have more serious consequences.

Inspector Jon Commons, of Northumbria Police, said: “Acts like these may be thought of as a prank to those involved, but they could have far more serious outcomes.

“There is simply no excuse for starting a fire deliberately.

“It puts people’s lives at risk – not only the victims’, but those who have started the fire in the first place.

“And not only does it cost the victim, but a deliberate fire diverts resources away from other emergencies which they will be needed at urgently.”

Station manager Ian Cuskin, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “People who start deliberate fires often think it’s a bit of fun, but they do not realise the devastating consequences of their behaviour.

“If our firefighters are attending these type of fires, it means they cannot be elsewhere, where someone may really need life-saving help.

“There are additional risks with fires on farms as they may involve livestock.”