ROAD closures have been put in place while nearly a dozen fire crews tackle a blaze affecting a row of thatched-roofed properties near Winchester.

A spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) confirmed 11 crews had been sent to the fire in Stockbridge Road, Sutton Scotney.

Firefighters were first called to the scene at 1.19pm, and put road closures in place, warning people to avoid the area.

Lisa Matthews, who works at 3V Natural Foods next door to the thatched-roofed properties, said: "When we first came in earlier today we all thought it smelt like a bonfire. 

"Then one of our staff members popped out and came back in shouting 'fire!'. I've never experienced anything like this in my life. 

"It's been very scary, and I was really shocked when I found out how serious the fire was. I didn't see the flames at first, because the smoke just made everything so unclear."

The A30 Stockbridge Road West junction with Stockbridge Road was closed, along with the A30 Stockbridge Rd West junction with Oxford Road and outside the Gratton Road Surgery.

A resident who lives just down the road from the affected thatched-roof houses, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: "Thankfully, my property won't be affected, because of the brilliant job the fire service have done, putting in the protection needed.

"But I can only feel very sorry for my fellow neighbours, who I'm sure are absolutely devastated."

Dave Bomfrey, of Gratton Close, about a five minute walk from Stockbridge Road, said: "I only came down here because I couldn't believe how much smoke was in the village green."