POLICE uncovered evidence of drugs inside a Southampton home after firefighters had forced their way inside to tackle a blaze.

Emergency services had been called to Lordswood Road early yesterday morning and were greeted with smoke billowing from the downstairs and upstairs windows and flames visible in the lounge.

Unsure if anyone was trapped, they broke down the door as neighbours looked on – but soon found the detached house was empty.

They managed to contain the fire to the lounge, breaking a window to ventilate the property which was severely damaged by the blaze and entirely smoke-damaged.

An investigation got under way involving police who then discovered evidence of drugs activity inside the property.

A 21-year-old woman and a 32-yearold man, both from Southampton, have since been arrested on suspicion of drugs offences and were last night being quizzed by police.

Neighbour Susan Sebright, 54, of Lordswood Road, said: “There were just billows of smoke.” She described how firefighters struggled to break the door down.

Tristan Pugh, 34, of Lordswood Road, was also alerted by a passer-by and got himself and his eight-yearold daughter out of his house.

He said: “Nobody’s been hurt, that’s the most important thing.”

Fire investigators concluded that the blaze, which left the road between Dale Valley Road and Hill Lane closed for several hours, was accidental and due to an unattended candle.

Station manager Mickey Smither, tactical adviser at the scene, said firefighters were alerted at 7.40am yesterday.

He said: “If someone had been in the property it could have been much more serious.”

Crews from Totton, Bishop’s Waltham and Romsey attended the incident, which was during the latest firefighters’ strike.

Mr Smithers said that crews had been at the scene within the aimedfor target of eight minutes, having been strategically placed around the area so the response had not been affected