A field full of barley was almost completely destroyed when a van fire turned into a "burning inferno".

Four fire crews from across north Cumbria rushed to the scene of the blaze, the B5302 on the edge of Wigton, yesterday afternoon.

Initially a large white Citroen van had caught fire before spreading to a nearby hedgerow and then into an eight-acre field containing barley.

The call out came in about 3.15pm with crews from Wigton and Carlisle's eastern fire station first at the scene.

A spokesman for the fire service said: "A further two fire engines were requested from Carlisle West and Silloth and the fire was extinguished using eight beaters, two breathing apparatus and four hose reel jets."

The van is believed to have pulled over to the side of the road when smoke began billowing out from underneath the bonnet.

"It quickly spread into a burning inferno," an eyewitness said.

"Flames spread to hedgerow and onto the field of barley with the wind quickly spreading the flames across the whole field destroying 80 per cent of the crop."

Two agricultural vehicles also helped the fire crews by assisting the spreading of water and slurry onto the flame-battered field in order to dampen the blaze down.

The fire crews were at the scene for about an hour and half.

Police officers also attended the incident.

A force spokesman said: "The road was closed while the fire service dealt with the fire.

"There were no reported injuries."