Pranks on farms are no joke, says farmer Ian

CLOSE CALL Zoe Clavin with Munchkin.
CLOSE CALL Zoe Clavin with Munchkin.

Horses at a farm had a lucky escape after the barn they were in was set ablaze.

The fire at Beckside Farm in Carr Lane, Dewsbury Moor, caused thousands of pounds of damage and left the five horses injured and scared.

Police are treating the incident, which took place on Saturday, as an arson attack.

Farmer Ian Storey, 45, said it appeared that the horses had been let out moments after the fire began.

Zoe Clavin, who was one of the first on the scene, has a horse at the farm.

She said: “How could somebody do this? Thank God they had the decency to let the horses out or we would have five dead horses on our hands.”

The blaze spread rapidly as the 120 foot barn was packed with 100 bales of straw, leaving Mr Storey no bedding or straw for his cattle.

He fears the barn may have been torched deliberately by kids.

He said: “We’ve had kids playing in the sheds and breaking into the silos, but this is a step-up. It’s a nightmare.”

Fire crews from Dewsbury, Batley and Cleckheaton battled to contain the fire, which started at around 7.15pm, while Mr Storey dragged away the burning straw.

His partner, Philippa Sidebottom, said: “The horses were shaking.

“It has taken us three days to get them back in the stable – they are emotionally and mentally unstable.”

Mr Storey said the horses had been coughing and that 25-year-old Shetland pony Angus was suffering from an injured leg, probably as he was trampled by the bigger horses in the chaos.