Explosion as 'petrol bomb' destroys 150 bales at Wickham farm

AROUND 150 bales of haylage were destroyed in a ‘bomb’ attack at a farm, the family running the site have told The News.

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 5:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th June 2020, 5:54 pm

Firefighters battled the blaze at McCarthy’s in Winchester Road, Wickham, for just under two hours last night after being called at 10.38pm.

Robert McCarthy, who has lost £5,000 worth of goods in the fire, heard a ‘massive explosion’ at around 10.30pm – sparking fears it was a petrol bomb attack.

CCTV footage captured at the farm shows the moment the fire erupted.

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A blaze destroyed 150 haylage bales at McCarthy's Fruit and Vegetables off Winchester Road near Wickham. Picture: Jo McCarthy

Police attended the incident along with firefighters from Fareham and Botley stations.

Jo McCarthy, Robert’s sister, told The News: ‘There was a massive explosion and people though it was a firework or something and it turned out to be my brother’s haylage.

‘150 bales have been destroyed. We believe it's a petrol bomb. It was a massive explosion and it just went straight up.

‘There were fire engines – it was just chaos, just trying to salvage what we could.’

The haylage was due to be sold to horse owners as feed. Robert had spent weeks collecting it from fields owned by the family, which has been in business at the farm since 1938.

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The fruit and vegetable shop on the site is run by Jo’s sister Tracy, 50, after their mum Crystal McCarthy, 70, retired.

It has been doing well during the pandemic, but the family can ill afford to lose £5,000 worth of haylage.

Jo added: ‘If anyone has got any information we want them to go to the police.

‘We think this was planned, targeted. It couldn't have just gone off. We're quite out the way.

‘It’s a malicious attack and obviously with everything that has been going on it's quite disheartening – it’s a family business.

‘My brother’s devastated. This is his livelihood.’

Some of the bales had recently been gathered and stored. None were saved in the fire.

The News has contacted Hampshire police.

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: ‘Crews from Fareham and Botley were mobilised at 10.48pm last night to Winchester Road, Wickham.

‘Approximately 130 bales of silage were involved in the fire.

‘Three jets were used to damp down.

‘Police were also in attendance and the stop message came in at 12.38am.’

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