Police have called for witnesses to two barn fires in Northumberland which caused more than £100,000 of damage.

The first blaze destroyed buildings storing hay and straw at Dunstan Hill Farm, near Embleton, shortly after midnight on Monday 9 January.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service sent appliances from Alnwick, Amble, Seahouses, Belford and Pegswood to the incident and spent most of the night bringing the fire under control. The 300t of straw in storage were destroyed, along with a big square baler.

Eighteen hours later fire service crews were called to a second fire, this time at Hadston Farm, South Broomhill. just 17 miles south of the first blaze. It began at about 18:20 on Monday, shutting the A1068 road. No one was injured in either fire.

A police spokesman could not confirm whether arson was suspected, but he called for anyone with information about the fires to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 or to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Meanwhile, the farmers have been left with a bill and lengthy clean up operation.

Roger Brown, who manages Dunstan Hill Farm, told a local newspaper the total cost of destruction could reach £100,000.

“We have lost about 300t of straw and 100t of hay, while the big square baler is a write-off. We could be looking at up to £9,000 of hay and £24,000 of straw, while the baler is about £18,000, and then there’s the sheds,” he told the Northumberland Gazette.

Mr Brown added that the fire was so big, he could see the glow from eight miles away.

He said: “We don’t know how it started. It does seem suspicious.

“There was nothing in the shed to make it start. We don’t think it was an electrical fault.”

Robert Howie, farmer tenant at Hadston Farm, said he was sure the fire had been started deliberately.

“There is no other way it could have started,” he said.

“I don’t know the cost of what we have lost, we haven’t got that far yet,” he said.

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