POLICE say they are not linking a suspected arson at an East Boldon stables to two other similar blazes which have taken place within the last month.
A fire broke out on Tuesday morning at stables at The Happy Farm, in Station Approach, destroying a storage building and causing about £1,500 damage.
No horses were harmed in the blaze, which happened between 10.30pm on Monday and 4.45am on Tuesday.
It follows an incident on April 20 at a stable in Coxgreen Road, Penshaw, Sunderland, when five horses were killed in a fire, and another two days later at a stable block in John Street, Fence Houses, Houghton, which was left slightly damaged.
Investigators found both of those fires were started deliberately, while the incident in East Boldon is also being treated as arson, with inquiries continuing to establish the cause.
Police are not linking the three stable fires but say they will be carrying out regular patrols in rural areas as concerns among horse owners grow.
At this stage, we do not believe the fire is linked to previous incidents where there have been fires at stables, but recognise people may be concerned.Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt, Northumbria Police
Northumbria Police Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt said: “Luckily no one was injured in the fire, but it has damaged the stables.
“We’re carrying out inquiries and asking any witnesses to come forward.
“At this stage, we do not believe the fire is linked to previous incidents where there have been fires at stables, but recognise people may be concerned.
“Officers will continue to carry out regular patrols in our rural areas to offer reassurance to farm owners.”
Two crews from Fulwell and South Shields Community Fire Stations attended Tuesday’s blaze, and put out the fire.
Station manager Steve Graham, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It was lucky we got the call when we did, because the fire was about to spread to the occupied stable.
“It was windy and everything was very dry, so the fire would have spread quickly, endangering the lives of the horses.”
Any witnesses should contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 691691. Callers are asked to quote reference number 137 120515, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.