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Chinese lanterns endangering Ashurst farmers’ livelihood

JPCT 04-01-13 S13020353X Derek and Vicki Crush. Chinese lantern fell close to their barn -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 04-01-13 S13020353X Derek and Vicki Crush. Chinese lantern fell close to their barn -photo by Steve Cobb

A husband and wife farming couple are angry at Chinese lanterns repeatedly landing on their Ashurst property, endangering their animals’ safety.

Derek and Vicki Crush, tenant farmers at Daylands Farm in Honeybridge Lane, woke on Wednesday January 2 to find a Chinese lantern measuring three feet tall that landed 100 metres from their barn, which contains straw, winter feed, and cattle.

Mrs Crush, who has been at the farm for 24 years, suspects that the lantern may have come from Ashington, set alight during celebrations on New Year’s Eve.

She said: “My husband was really annoyed and worried as to what could have happened.

“I do not think people realise how dangerous they really are.

“It’s our livelihood and could have caused thousands of pounds of damage.”

She said if a fire had started in the barn they would not have realised until it was too late, as their house faces the other direction.

“I suppose it was relief at first that it had not got any further, and then anger that people use these things and are so thoughtless,” she added.

“You have no control setting it off on where it’s going to go and the wind.”

Mr and Mrs Crush own cattle and sheep, and grow vegetables and flowers to sell at Steyning Market.

In a similar incident Rob Hayden, in Bucks Green, checked his livestock one morning to find the wiring of a festive light tangled around a sheep in September 2012, five months after a lantern narrowly missed the barn he was sleeping in during lambing season.

In the past the National Farmers Union has urged people not to set off lanterns.

Mrs Crush added: “Farmers know how dangerous they are and people in places that could have an awful problem, but obviously if they go up they have to come down.”

 

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