A fire started at a school when sunlight shone through a crystal ball and set light to a scarf.

Firefighters from Hove Community Fire Station were called to Lancing Preparatory School in The Droveway, Hove, when a classroom filled with smoke.

The fire had started by sunlight shining through a crystal ball which was near a scarf and the heat generated began to burn the scarf.

The firefighters were able to deal with the blaze on Friday evening by fanning out the smoke and an officer who attended the incident told The Argus that , although unusual, this was not the first time he had been called out to a scene like this.

He said: “It’s really unusual, and although it’s the first time I’ve ever been called out to a fire caused by a crystal ball, I did go to a fire a few years back which was started similarly.

“There was a little old lady working on a crossword and she was severely visually impaired.

“I can’t remember if it was a thick pair of reading glasses or a magnifying glass, but the sunlight came in through a balcony, through the glasses or magnifying glass and set her crossword alight.”

He said the incident could have been a lot worse if proposed cuts to the fire service had already taken place.

Firefighters were alerted to the fire by an electronic fire alarm control panel.

The officer said: “In the current climate we're in and the cuts we’re facing, this was a lucky one really.

“We were alerted to this by a fire alarm panel – and this is one of the things that looks set to be cut if the proposed changes go ahead.

“It was fortunate we were there and were able to attend, otherwise the situation could have been a lot worse for Lancing Prep School.

“It highlights the importance of these things and it would have been a different situation if the cuts had been put in place.”

It is believed no one was in the build- ing at the time the fire started on Fri- day evening and there were no reported injuries.