A FARMER has been left counting the cost after a barn was gutted by arsonists.

Derek Rowlands fears £20,000 damage was caused after an overnight blaze wreaked havoc to his barn at Broad Oak Farm, Broughton.

Firefighters worked through the night to keep the blaze under control after the arsonists struck late on Thursday, wiping out most of the items in the barn.

Mr Rowlands said: “It’s very distressing and annoying. It would appear this has been done deliberately.

“The whole building has been wrecked. I’d estimate we’ve suffered £20,000 damage and we’ve got to hope it’s all insured.”

The barn is isolated from much of the family-run farm and mainly acted as a storage building, housing items such as several tonnes of timber, hay and straw, which were wiped out by the blaze.

Three agricultural trailers also sustained damage, although no animals or people were injured.

“It is a relief that there were no animals in here,” added Mr Rowlands. “We have a lot of horses on the farm and thankfully they were not affected by the fire and none of my staff were hurt.

“Fortunately the barn is isolated from the rest of the farm, it was lucky it was not in the main part.

“But it is going to take a few months to sort this out, we could certainly do without this happening.”

Mr Rowlands noticed the barn was on fire at about 9.45pm, immediately contacting the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service who rushed to the scene close to the A55 expressway.

The severity of the fire was such that crews from Deeside, Buckley, Flint and Mold all attended, working until about 3.30am to bring it under control.

“I am very grateful to the fire service for their efforts,” said Mr Rowlands, who stayed at the barn for most of the night.

“They did a lot of work to help control the fire.”

An environment protection unit was at the scene to assess the damage and returned the following morning, as the barn continued to smoulder.

Crews used four main jets, two hose reel jets, a ground monitor, eight breathing apparatus, a thermal imaging camera and a positive pressure ventilation fan to tackle the blaze.

A spokesman for North Wales Fire and Rescue said the cause was deliberate.