Newton Abbot racecourse has been the victim of a suspected arson attack after one of the chase fences was found on fire.

The incident happened at the Devon track sometime before 2am on Sunday (17 June) and local firefighters were called when flames were spotted from a nearby Premier Inn.

When the two fire crews arrived at the racecourse the wooden structure was well alight — it took one jet to stop the blaze, while fire fighters spent half an hour at the scene. The jump is at the far end of the racecourse but close to a footpath and was completely destroyed in the incident.

Police are appealing for information from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area at the time.

“Police were informed of an incident of suspected arson at Newton Abbot racecourse on Sunday, 17 June,” said a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police.

“A wooden jumping fence was believed to be set alight. Enquiries were carried out, however no suspect was identified.”

Images of the fire were shared across social media and a post on a local Facebook page, from a spokesman at Newton Abbot Fire Station, read: “At just after 2am yesterday morning (17 June) both fire engines were mobilised to a large unknown fire at Newton Abbot racecourse.

“Once we arrived it became apparent that it wasn’t a building fire but one of the jumps on the racecourse. We drove our appliances to the far side of the course and used a main firefighting jet to extinguish the fire. One jump was severely damaged by fire.”

The fire service believes the likely cause of the blaze was “deliberate ignition.”

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It is unlikely that the fence will be repaired in time for Newton Abbot’s next raceday — the racecourse’s Ladies’ Day — which takes place on Tuesday, 26 June.

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