Hampshire's Arson Task Force are being hailed as world leaders after receiving an international award.

The Arson Task Force, at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, has received the Outstanding Accomplishment Award from the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) in their 2020 awards, beating fire services from 80 other countries around the world.

The task force received the award for a culmination of innovative work to drive down arson cases in Hampshire.

The team's fire investigation techniques and professional evidence gathering has seen them recognised as the most successful task force in the UK.

Leader of the Arson Task Force, station manager Dave Clements said: "I was delighted to receive notification from the UK-AFI that our Arson Task Force has been recognised on the international stage.

"Their tireless work in arson reduction, collaborative detection and prosecution techniques is deserving of the acknowledgement.

"It is a massive congratulations to the whole team, past and present, which I have the pleasure of leading."

The Task Force was established in 2007 with the aim being to determine how fires start and reducing arson within the county, and is made up of fire investigators from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Hampshire Constabulary

In 2006, the conviction rate for arson in Hampshire was 3%, but now with the task force, conviction rates in 2019 have shot up to 85%.

In total, over 2,600 arsonists have been removed from communities and are serving nearly 600 years of prison time.

In 2014 the task force notably worked on the case of Karen Lyle who had been slowly poisoning her husband with anti-depressants before eventually setting fire to him whilst he slept.

Her husband was saved because he woke up during the attack and Lyle was convicted by a jury and sentenced to a 22-year jail sentence.