A JOINT Dorset Police and Dorset Fire and Rescue investigation has been launched after fire broke out twice in five hours at a boat workshop at Poole.

Fire fighters were called at 9.20pm on Tuesday and again at 2.30am on Wednesday morning to Robco Marine at New Quay Road. Dorset Police are linking the incidents and treating them as suspected arson.

In the attacks a landmark building was gutted and a white van inside was badly damaged.

Robco Marine, carries out gel coat, paint work and fibreglass moulding for its big neighbour Sunseeker, however the building in which it operates is leased from Peter Burt and his son Trelawny.

“It’s deeply saddening,” said Peter Burt, former Poole Harbour Commissioner at the scene.

“Especially if someone has set a fire – in a building that is widely known in Poole.”

He said he had owned the property for 15 years and the corrugated building with its timber interior had been extensively refurbished. Robco was their second tenant, he said.

“It’s just sad to think someone should feel vengeful to somebody.”

He added: “I don’t think it’s anything to do with us. People don’t know it’s ours particularly.

No-one was in the premises at the time.

A fire investigator had visited and police forensic officers were still inside the building this afternoon.

Four fire crews from Hamworthy and Poole tackled the first blaze, using eight breathing apparatus sets, two hose reel jets and one main line. The stop message was at 10.30pm.

However they were called again at 2.30am after local residents and passing motorists reported large columns of thick black smoke and flames.

The building was well alight and four crews of fire fighters again put out the blaze, leaving the scene at 4.30am.

“The fires are believed to be linked and are being treated as suspicious,” said a police spokesman.

Dorset Police are appealing for anyone with information or who saw anything suspicious to contact them on 101 quoting incident 18:16.