FOUR sheep and three lambs died after a barn caught fire near Wimborne early on Monday.

Seventy firefighters were called to the barn fire at a farm in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The barn at Dogdean Farm, Smugglers Lane, Furzehill, contained hay and a vehicle and was home for several lambing ewes.

Fortunately someone on the farm woke up and heard the distressed sheep. The four people there at the time quickly moved between 15 and 20 sheep and around the same number of lambs out of the burning barn.

They also moved 10 horses out of the nearby stable yard.

Two sheep were badly burned and several became confused in the fire and are no longer able to look after their lambs.

Farmer Terry James will now have to rear about nine lambs by hand.

He said that people on the farm were shocked by the fire.

A vet visited the farm and livery to check all the animals yesterday.

The barn has been almost completely destroyed by the fire but the stable block is still useable although slightly damaged by smoke.

Dorset police said they were called at 6.30am by the fire service and installed road closures to assist the farmer workers who were moving a large number of animals.

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said it was called out at 4.40am, leaving the scene just before lunchtime yesterday. It was the first time they have used a new compressed foam system on a fire since it was introduced.

It is not clear how the fire started.