ARSONISTS have attacked a farm house which breeds rabbits for medical research - while a family were asleep inside.
Police have condemned the attack on the Normanby-by-Spital farm, saying that it could have killed someone.
Police were called to Highgate Farm, off Highgate Lane in Normanby-by-Spital near Hemswell Cliff, at around 2.16am on Monday 4th July after reports of an arson attack.
Officers attended the scene and found a Mercedes Sprinter van had been set on fire and an incendiary device had been thrown at the door of a house on the site.
Both blazes were extinguished and no one was hurt.
The van was damaged extensively, but the fire had not spread from the door and only minor damage to the house was caused.
The incident is being treated as arson and an investigation has been launched.
“The family here could have suffered severe injury or worse,” said Detective Supt Stuart Morrisson, speaking at the scene.
“That is an extremely reckless act that will not further anyone’s cause.”
The farm has been the target of repeated attacks and has seen many protests from animal rights activists.
“I’ve been dealing with incidents here since 2005. There have been burglaries, protests and a previous arson that just involved a vehicle, culminating in this most recent incident,” he continued.
“I recognise that people may not agree with what goes on here and I respect their right to have an opinion and want to bring about change, but that must come about by lawful means.”
He went on: “I can’t help but make the observation that it does their cause no good to think that setting fire to someone’s house at 2.15 in the morning when a family are asleep inside is a reasonable response to what they think should be stopped.”
“This obvious attack on a building where people were clearly sleeping takes things to a new level of criminality, which cannot be justified in any circumstances.”
Police say that they have begun a thorough investigation and would encourage anyone who witnessed anything or has any information to come forward.
Detective Supt Morrisson added: “I would like to warn people that if they carry out this kind of attack they will be thoroughly investigated. Whoever has done this clearly has very few boundaries and I would like the reasonably members of the movement to think about that.”
“I could encourage anyone with any information to come forward before someothing worse happens.”
The residents of Highgate Farm were unavailable for comment.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Lincolnshire Police on 0300 111 0300.
Or you can give information anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Check back at www.gainsboroughstandard.co.uk for the latest developments as they happen.
For the full story see next week’s Standard, available Thursday 14th July.