A blaze called havoc at a Winchester primary school on Sunday night after five of the school's wheelie bins were set alight.

Police have arrested two juveniles and are carrying out further enquiries about the fire, which broke out at 10pm at the 230-pupil Harestock Primary School and caused damage running into thousands of pounds.

Firefighters battled hard to contain the blaze, whose flames quickly ripped through the bins, destroyed their enclosure and leapt through to an adjacent building badly damaging a utility room. At one point, the flames even jumped onto the roof of the main block at the Bramshaw Close school.

Head teacher, Paula Lauwerys, said: "If the fire brigade hadn't acted as promptly and efficiently as they did, it would have had a serious effect on the main part of the building."

She had been alerted to the fire just after 10pm when a colleague called her at her Colden Common home and she drove to the school.

The rest of the evening and the early hours of Sunday morning was spent checking vital school facilities such as water, gas and electricity, so the school could open as normal the next day. On Monday, she said: "I'm just concentrating on getting the whole place running smoothly again."

Assessing the damage with the authorities, the head said she had little doubt that the fire was going to cost the authorities a lot of money.

The wheelie bin enclosure was destroyed and would have to be replaced. A kiln was left melted, gardening tools and other stored materials left ruined and brickwork damaged in the utility room. An adjoining plant room and boiler room were damaged by smoke.