Three horses have died in a ‘deliberate’ fire at a farm in North Lanarkshire.
The alarm was raised at Morningside Farm at Allanton, near Newmains, during the early hours of Saturday morning, but by the time emergency services arrived, the animals had already perished.
One horse managed to escape but has been left badly burned.
The owners of the farm believe they have been targeted in a series of attacks.
Three weeks ago a horse trailer, at the same property, was set on fire as well as another barn where five horses were inside.
The blazes are all being treated by police as deliberate.
Melanie Collins, who owns the property with her partner, former jockey Donal Nolan, have been left devastated.
She said: “I understand from various people that they heard the horses screaming in pain and they couldn’t get out.
“Luckily the last horse in the last stable managed to get out.
“He had his rug burning onto his back, he’s had his tail burned and he had a burn on the top of his head but the vets have been out to see the horse but he’s having a full examination because you can’t tell right away about the affects the smoke has had on the horse… what kind of animals can do that to innocent animals.”
The alarm was raised by a neighbour and Ms Collins and Mr Nolan, who do not live on their farm, found it hard to see what remained on site afterwards.
They said: “We didn’t know what we were coming to.
“We were told there was another fire and you wouldn’t imagine that somebody could do that, that they could burn animals alive.
“God help the poor animals… to put animals through such horrific pain is unimaginable.”
The owners of the horses, who had bred them, said the animals were everything to them.
Peter McCrum, speaking on their behalf, said: “It’s hard to believe how someone could harm beautiful innocent animals like this.
“It’s unimaginable what pain and suffering these animals went through.
“They’re totally beside themselves.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police were called 1.45am on Saturday to a report of a derelict building on fire on Mill Road, Alanton.
“Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were also in attendance and the cause of the fire has not been established yet.
“Three horses died during this incident and one was injured.
“Officers are now treating it as wilful and enquiries are ongoing.”