THE roof and first floor of a thatched cottage was completely destroyed in a fire near Bidford-on-Avon.

Firefighters battled for 12 hours to control a blaze in Ardens Grafton which started in the roof space.

Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service was called at 9.55am on Friday and did not leave until 10pm that evening, with crews making regular checks throughout the night in case the fire started again.

At its height, two crews from Stratford and one from Alcester, Wellesbourne, Bidford, Atherstone and Bedworth attended along with the command support unit with aerial platform and water carrier from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.

Andrew Goodman, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service Station Commander, who was involved in fighting the fire said: "Thatched roof fires are very problematic for fires crews to deal with as they are made from highly flammable material impervious to water by design.

"We have to physically remove the material from the roof to get to the burning areas and this is hard work and very time consuming.

"The crews working on Friday did an excellent job to manage and extinguish the blaze in what were particularly arduous conditions. They were also able to save many of the occupier's personal belongings even though there was extensive damage to the roof and interior of the property.

"We would advise owners of thatched properties to have evacuation plans in place in the event of fire which include a list of what they would like to be saved.

"Fire crews will make every effort to save prized possessions if they have the opportunity and they know what to look for."

A spokesman for the fire service added there were no reports of any injuries but an ambulance was requested as a precaution to check the homeowner did not suffer from smoke inhalation.