It is suspected up to 4,300 pigs have been killed in a suspected arson attack at a pig farm near Bessbrook village, Co. Armagh.

Reports suggest an intense fire destroyed three sheds at the farm on Derrywilligan Road, Mullaghglass. Firefighters were called to deal with the blaze at about 05:40 am on Saturday and it took crews seven hours to deal with the fire.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said 800 sows and approximately 3,500 piglets died in the blaze. A NIFRS spokeswoman said: “The fire is thought to have been started deliberately.”

Five fire appliances and an NIFRS Command Support Unit were involved in the operation. Crews also brought in water tankers and a hydraulic platform from nearby towns and villages.