Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 13:03 UK

Hunt to find heathland arsonists

Heath fire in Dorset
Police are investigating the cause of the fire - picture by Simon Rowley

Firefighters in Dorset say they are committed to tracking down arsonists after a spate of recent heath fires.

A major "suspicious" blaze, described as the biggest so far this year, destroyed about five hectares (12 acres) on Sunday evening.

Crews had to call reinforcements before they managed to control the blaze at Talbot Heath, near Poole.

Station manager Angus Nairn said the service was regularly passing on descriptions of suspects to police.

'Maliciously caused'

"These people are seen on the heath and we do get messages back with descriptions of them," he added.

"We would urge the public if they see anyone starting a fire maliciously to contact police immediately.

"The problem that we have is that we ought not to be fighting the heathland fires in the first place that are being caused maliciously.

"We have to try and tackle the people that start the fires and try to get an educational message across."

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