NEARLY £3,000 of damage was caused at Eastleigh's Wood-side Avenue recycling centre in a blaze believed to have been started by arsonists.

As reported by the Daily Echo, firefighters from Eastleigh and Romsey were called to tackle the blaze in three skips at the centre just before 9pm on Tuesday. A fire and rescue spokesman said: "A couple of the large skips were alight, plus a large container behind the skips. There was a danger of the fire spreading because all the containers are fairly close together."

Eighteen firefighters and two officers spent more than 40 minutes bringing the blaze under control.

Now, Eastleigh police say £1,000 of damage was caused to two metal industrial containers while the fire also caused £700 worth of damage to waste metal, including copper and brass. An estimated £1,000 of damage was also caused to numerous tools at the site.

The blaze comes just three months after a number of arsons led police to plead with parents to confiscate lighters or matches from youngsters.

Detectives said they believed children were responsible for a fire which damaged the Southampton and District Motorcycle Club - next door to the recycling centre - in August.

A second arson was recorded when wasteland was torched behind a unit in nearby Parham Drive.

Police have appealed for anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Woodside Avenue area on Tuesday night to contact Eastleigh police station on 0845 045 4545.