POLICE believe two cases of suspicious fires are linked.

Emergency services were called to a barn fire at Reedbridge Farm, Hunston, near Chichester, at 11.12am on Friday. More than 200 bales of straw were destroyed in the blaze.

People living nearby saw black smoke and heard popping noises coming from the fire.

They were advised to keep doors and windows shut until crews from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were able to put out the fire and disperse the smoke.

Then, shortly before 2am on Tuesday, firefighters were called to Hunters Lodge riding centre in Hunston where four empty stables, hay bales, farm tools and storage containers were destroyed in another fire.

There were no reports of injuries.

Detective Constable Matt Chamberlain said: “We'd like to hear from anyone who may have information relating to these two fires.

"They were in fairly close proximity and, with just a few days between each incident, may well be connected.

"However, we’re a keeping an open mind on that and any link will be assessed against the evidence once we have completed further enquiries. "

Anyone able to help officers is asked to contact Sussex Police online or phone 101, quoting serial 69 of 08/01.

Alternatively please contact Crimestoppers anonymously or phone the independent charity on 0800 555 111.