Arson arrests after Shilbottle blaze

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Police have told the Gazette that arrests have been made following last night’s fire at a farm in Shilbottle.

Alnwick Neighbourhood Inspector Paul Truscott said that they have been investigating the major blaze at Hillhead Farm and four local youths have been arrested on suspicion of arson.

Picture by Mick Barclay

Picture by Mick Barclay

A spokeswoman from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) said that the fire was reported at 9.10pm last night and appliances from Alnwick, Amble, Rothbury, Pegswood and West Hartford all attended to deal with straw on fire next to a barn.

Initial reports from the fire service suggested 500 tonnes of straw were alight, but in fact the fire consumed 5,000 bales – 2,500 tonnes – worth around £175,000.

Two appliances were still on the scene this morning, protecting the surrounding buildings while the flames die down. The fire investigator has been out.

Paul Langdown, station manager for Northumberland FRS, said that management of the fire would be passed onto the farmer at some stage, but it depends on today’s weather conditions, particularly the wind.

Around 300 cattle had to be moved and put into alternative shelters. Temporary pens are being constructed in another shed.