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24 March 2011, 10:07 | Updated: 24 March 2011, 10:12
Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward after three heath fires in the Poole area in one day.
Areas of heathland were damaged in both Bourne Bottom nature reserve and Turbary Common on Monday, 21 March 2011 – with officers treating the blazes as suspicious.
No-one was hurt as a result of the incidents.
The first fire took place on the Bourne Bottom nature reserve, to the rear of Benbow Crescent in Poole, at around 6.10pm on Monday, 21 March.
An area of around 20m x 30m was damaged.
Later that day two separate fires were started on nearby Turbary Common between 10pm and 10.30pm.
The larger of the fires occurred in the centre of the common, with the smaller fire being started near to the common’s entrance off Wallisdown Road, next to the Knighton Heath Industrial Estate.
An area of around 50m x 50m was damaged.
All three fires were extinguished by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service.
Police Constable Dave Street, of Poole police, said: “I am appealing for anyone with any information about those responsible to contact us as soon as possible.
“I know it’s sometimes difficult for people to pass information to the police but those people need to know that by helping us they will be helping to save a rare and important habitat that is internationally protected.
“By coming forward as a matter of urgency, they could also be preventing the possibility of serious injury to members of the public.
“I'm asking legitimate users of the heathland to be alert and vigilant in keeping an eye out for anything strange, unusual, or out of the ordinary – and to report it to the police immediately.
“There is a high level of patrolling going on so the police, fire service and heath wardens will be able to respond quickly to information from the public and catch those responsible.”
Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 01202 22 22 22 quoting incident number 21:416. Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.