POLICE are investigating a fire which was reportedly started by youths having a barbecue in the New Forest during the coronavirus lockdown.
The alarm was raised around 7.25pm on Saturday, and firefighters from Burley contained the small blaze near the Holmsley car park in Holmsley Passage, off the A35 near Burley.
Officers were alerted by the crew amid reports of youngsters having been involved in the incident.
A Hampshire police spokesperson said: “It was reported a group of young people had started a fire – it is believed the group lit a bonfire to have a barbecue or picnic.”
Meanwhile, firefighters branded those responsible for leaving a campfire smouldering in Dibden Inclosure the following morning “covidiots” for making a non-essential trip to the Forest.
Responding to a call-out around 8.40am to the beauty spot, off the B3054 Beaulieu Road, near Dibden Purlieu, a crew from Hardley brought the incident under control.
A post afterwards on the station’s Twitter account said: “Safely extinguished with the hose reel, ensuring the heat could not spread underground, but can’t really say this was essential travel for the camper(s).”
Those with information about the Holmsley fire should contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting incident reference number 44200146322, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.