A £1,000 reward has been offered for information following a large fire near Marlborough.

Saul Kidston was left devastated after 30 tonnes of his baled straw were set alight.

He set up as a Devon-based hay and straw merchant more than 16 years ago, and throughout the harvest period works throughout Wiltshire and Hampshire.

Exmoor Hay and Straw delivers throughout the whole of the south west, Europe and Ireland.

On Wednesday (August 25) he received a call about a major fire that had destroyed much of his straw, and narrowly avoided spreading further.

Crews had been called to the scene, at Poulton Hill near Marlborough at 4.07pm after a nearby resident raised the alarm.

She had seen two men walk away from the fire around the same time.

Saul said: "It's completely unknown who did this.


The fire

The fire


"The only information I have so far is from a lady who said she saw two young, slightly built, men walking away from the fire as she rang the fire brigade.

"She saw them walking away from the fire just minutes before. It's very strange."

This isn't the first straw bale fire Saul has suffered, after a similar situation in Wantage ten years ago.

He added: "It's devastating, really. We've been up here away from home five of us since the middle of July battling to get feed for livestock across the west country.

"There will be farmers now struggling to get their feed."

Saul is offering a £1,000 reward to help track down those responsible for the fire.

Call 07557308957 or inform the Marlborough Police Station if you have any information.

Saul added that it would be "treated in the strictest confidence."

When asked what message he would have for the culprits, he added: "Think about what you are doing. Some of us are working 20 hours a day to keep farmers going."

Two fire engines - from Marlborough and Swindon - were joined by a small 4x4 pump from Ludgershall and a water carrier from Pewsey to tackle the fire.

A fire spokeswoman said: "They found the bales well alight, with the fire spreading to the adjacent stubble field.

"Beaters and hose reel jets were used to extinguish the field, and the adjacent hedgerow has been damped down to protect it from fire.

"Farm machinery was used to create a fire break around the bales."