A HUGE blaze has torn through a scrapyard close to Royal Wootton Bassett, causing a plume of smoke that could be seen for miles around.

More than 40 firefighters tackled the inferno at Swindon Metal Solutions Ltd, in Thornhill, near Royal Wootton Bassett, yesterday afternoon and into the evening.

The alarm was raised shortly after 3pm with eight fire engines brought in to tackle the flames, which reached more than 60ft in the air.

Crews from Westlea, Swindon, Marlborough, Cricklade, Calne, Devizes, Stratton and Malmesbury all attended the scene, supported by water carriers from Royal Wootton Bassett and Ramsbury, an incident command vehicle from Stratton and the aerial appliance from Swindon.

A spokesperson for Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have been dealing with a large fire at a scrapyard near Broad Town.

“Firefighters were called to Swindon Metal Solutions at 3.03pm and found a large quantity of scrap cars well alight.

“The fire has caused a significant plume of black smoke.”

It is not yet known what the cause of the fire is but local reports suggest there may have been people welding on the site, which is also known locally as Rayners Breakers.

Local resident Idris Lapham said it was the biggest fire he had ever seen.

“The fire started a few hours ago, and the fire crews came quite quickly,” he said.

“It started small but has grown. I have never seen anything like this around here.

“We have not been told of any danger to us, they are just not letting anyone past this road at the moment.

“We have not been told of the cause but I think they may have been welding down there.”

The fire caused a significant plume of black smoke which was visible from as far away as Avebury, Cricklade and from Edington, near Westbury.

Sara Dean, was driving home to Devizes when she saw the blaze and stopped to have a look.

She said: “I have driven down from past Cricklade and I could see it from there.

“It is a huge fire and I am hoping there are no gas canisters or petrol tanks that can go up and make it worse than it already is.

“From here you can see the flames and can hear the odd bang and crackle.”

People in the affected area were advised to keep their doors and windows closed, but were told there was no immediate danger to them.

Wiltshire Police closed a number of roads including Thornhill Road, which included an access road between The Barton and Malborough Road whilst the blaze was being contained.