POLICE have launched an arson investigation after a fire at a country park on the edge of the New Forest.

Benches and play equipment were set on fire at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, which is situated at Ashley Heath, near Ringwood.

The fire is thought to have been started by a group of three young men.

One wearing glasses and a yellow hooded top. One of his companions had dark hair and was wearing black clothing.

A police spokesman said: “Thankfully, the fires were extinguished before they were able to take hold and cause a risk to life for anyone using the surrounding forest.

"I am appealing to anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area to please get in touch.

“Officers from the local neighbourhood policing team have been carrying out increased patrols in the area, assisted by Dorset Council."

Anyone with information can contact Dorset Police at dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55200042343.

Alternatively, they can Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org.