OFFICERS are asking for the public’s help in locating a man following a concern for welfare due to a fire near Bere Regis.

Dorset Police received a report from the fire service about a barn fire in Throop at 11.30pm on Friday September 18.

The cause of the fire is still not known.

Following enquiries, concerns were raised about a man who is often seen in the area.

The man, sighted most days walking around the various local villages including Bere Regis and Sandford, is believed to be a rough sleeper.

The last confirmed sighting of this man was on Thursday September 17 about quarter of a mile away from the barn.

He is described as white, in his 40s, about five feet seven inches tall and of slim build. He has a tanned and unkempt appearance and a dark beard. He usually wears a long dark coat and carries a backpack.

Chief Inspector Steve Yeoman, of Dorset Police, said: “Unfortunately, we don’t know any more about this man.

“I am hoping that somebody has more information about him, such as his name and where he might currently be.

“We just want to make sure that he is safe and well and has not come to any harm due to the fire.”

Anyone with information or knowledge as to the described man’s whereabouts is asked to contact Dorset Police at, via email or by calling 101, quoting incident number 18:556.

Residents living near to the scene of the blaze have been told to keep their windows and doors closed as a precaution.

The fire was expected to burn "well into Saturday" said a spokesperson for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue.

They added: "We’re currently dealing with a large barn fire at Throop, with a lot of smoke spreading to the local area.

"This is likely to continue well into Saturday as the barn and its contents burn out under control. Local residents should keep doors/windows closed as a precaution."

There are crews from Bere Regis and Wareham on scene and a water carrier from Poole.

The fire service was called at 11.20pm last night.