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Sussex farmer warns people could have died after lantern floated into straw barn
A farmer warned a Chinese lantern could have “burned folk to death in their homes” after it floated into his barn.
David Robinson, of Northease Farm in Rodmell, near Lewes, was shocked to find the paper lantern in the building he uses to store straw.
With the countryside tinder dry, Mr Robinson said he feared a fire could have started and spread to neighbouring residential properties which are just 30ft away.
He said: “Luckily there wasn’t much straw in there but in another week or two there will be 4,000 big straw bales in this barn.
“The lantern could have incinerated everything nearby and burned folk to death in their homes.
“People should not be releasing these sky lanterns.
“They pose a huge fire risk and they threaten human lives.”
The comments come just weeks after a lantern sparked a massive fire at a recycling depot in the West Midlands.
More than 200 firefighters had to be called to deal with the incident, which involved 100,000 tonnes of material.
Others claim the lanterns, which usually involve a candle suspended inside a frame of wire or bamboo, can kill animals.
This is because they fall into grass crops and the wire gets chopped up when grass is gathered and turned into animal feed.
Animals can also become entangled in their bamboo frames.
The National Farmers’ Union, Women’s Food and Farming Union (WFU) and Marine Conservation Society (MCS) have all called for the lanterns to be banned.
John Archer, of the NFU, said: “This latest example of a Chinese lantern landing in a farmyard beside homes should be a wake-up call to people who release them without considering the consequences.
“Please don’t release sky lanterns – why would you want to put lives at risk? We know that Chinese lanterns can cause fires on an industrial scale and we’d like to see them banned.”
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