Police have launched an arson investigation after a boat was ‘deliberately’ destroyed in the early hours of this morning (Sunday).

Two Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service crews from Barnstaple tackled a boat fire in Fremington Quay at 12.43am.

After extinguishing the blaze, the cause of the fire was deemed to be deliberate and Devon and Cornwall Police was informed.

A fire service spokesman said: “Two fire appliances from Barnstaple were mobilised to reports of a fire. On arrival, crews confirmed a small fishing vessel was well alight.

“The fire was extinguished using two breathing apparatus wearers, two hose reel jets and a covering jet.

“A thermal imaging camera was also used to check for hotspots. Two small cylinders were also involved in the fire.

“The boat was 100 per cent destroyed by fire and the cause was deliberate. Duty of care was left with the police.”

A police spokesman confirmed a 17ft boat was destroyed in the fire, and the source of the fire is currently unexplained.

Any witnesses with information are asked to call police on 101 quoting crime reference CR/066433/18.