FIVE calves have been killed in a “devastating” barn blaze.

Farmer Rhys Davies said that as well as the loss of his heifers, the arson attack on his barn at Moor Farm, off Moor Lane, Holywell, could have put him out of business.

But he praised the professionalism and quick response of the emergency services who were called out just before 2.30am yesterday, with livestock, hay and fertilizer involved in the fire.

Several appliances from St Asaph, Deeside, Flint, and Holywell attended.

Mr Davies said: “We were woken up at about 2.45am by the police and fire engines, who had been called to other fires nearby and saw this blaze.

“The hay was ablaze, and next door we had six freisian heffers and unfortunately, five perished due to the heat and smoke inhalation.

“They were prize heifers that had been on show in Denbigh and at other events.

“Luckily, the milking parlour has not been affected as much as we feared as that would have put us out of business.

“It is still going to have an effect on milking because of the welfare issues, so it is a double whammy, dead livestock and damage.

“The fire brigade were excellent, they were here so quickly. Their actions saved the milking parlour and given the pressures they must be under, they were fantastic.”

The National Police Air Service helicopter crew based in Barton, near Manchester, was used to help locate the suspects in the hours after the fire.

Mr Davies said he could not understand the mentality behind the suspected arson.

“People have got to understand a farm is not a playground. This has dire consequences,” he said.

“All we’re trying to do is produce food and all of a sudden someone comes along and shows a total disregard for what we are doing.

“Surely this can’t be tolerated and there should be tougher penalties for people who do it.”

Mr Davies said that in the hours after the blaze, the community has rallied around.

“We have had support from neighbours and the whole agricultural community,” he said.

“It is important to thank everyone for all their support. We just have to carry on.”

Mr Davies also appealed for anyone who may have any CCTV or camera footage of the incident to send it to the police.

Sgt Alison Sharp, North Wales Police, said: “This has been a devastating fire in which animals have been killed and which will have an impact on the livelihood of the farmer.

“We are treating this incident as arson and I would appeal to anyone who has information to contact police on 101 quoting reference W012414.