SECURITY is likely to be stepped up at a Hampshire building site hit by a suspected arson attack.

Police have launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze, which wrecked eight of the 45 affordable homes being built on a former greenfield site at Fawley Road, Hythe.

More than 30 firefighters from eight fire stations across Hampshire dashed to the scene after the fire broke out last Saturday at about 11pm.

Police initially said the flames engulfed seven properties but the developer, Portsmouth-based Vivid Homes, has now confirmed that eight flats were destroyed.

Mark Batchelor, the housing association's commercial director, said: "We would like to thank Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, who swiftly attended the site, and can confirm that no-one was injured.

"We are now working closely with the police and the fire service to assist them with their investigation.

"We're unable to comment on the repair process or costs until a thorough investigation has been carried out. We will be reviewing the security and implementing any necessary measures."

A Hampshire police spokesman said only that inquiries were ongoing.

Planning permission for the development was granted by New Forest District Council in 2015 and most of the flats and houses being built opposite the Netley View estate are nearing completion.

But the blaze broke out at the back of the site, where homes under construction are still covered in scaffolding.

Margaret Hook, who lives in nearby Frost Lane, said: "We heard a lot of shouting outside and saw what appeared to be an orange flashing light through the curtains.

"I got up to have a look and some of the homes on the building site were ablaze.

"The properties must have gone up really quickly. Lots of people were out in the street watching, including two girls who were in their dressing gowns."

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, added: "We could see a big orange glow through the blinds.

"Sparks were flying towards some of the other houses on the building site and firefighters were dousing the roofs with water to stop the blaze spreading."

Builders told police there was nothing on the site that could have caused the fire.

One of the locals who took to social media in the aftermath of the blaze commented: "Saying suspected arson as no electrics had been put in yet."