The cause of a major fire which destroyed a dozen homes in a Norfolk village may never be known.

A field fire spread to properties on the outskirts of Ashill, near Swaffham, on July 19.

Fourteen fire crews battled the blaze as it tore through Edward Close and The Green.

They included appliances from Merseyside and Sunderland, who were sent to Norfolk as the county's fire service struggled to cope with hundreds of call-outs as temperatures soared to record levels after weeks of drought.

An investigation has been unable to pinpoint the cause of the Ashill fire. A fire service spokesman said: "The investigation there has been completed, but it did not reach any conclusion on the initial cause of the fire.

"Unfortunately this isn’t all that uncommon in field fires during hot weather, but we can state that no evidence at all was found of any deliberate start to the fire."

Alan Ketteringham, chair of Ashill Parish Council, said: "This has been the story all the way through. Nobody knows whether it was a piece of glass on the grass which ignited with the heat, nobody knows."

Five of the seven houses which were damaged on Edwards Close have now been demolished along with parts of the terrace properties gutted by the fire on The Green.

All will be rebuilt in what Mr Ketteringham earlier described as "a mammoth task".

Watton & Swaffham Times: One of the homes on The Green which had been affected by the fire in AshillOne of the homes on The Green which had been affected by the fire in Ashill (Image: Sarah Hussain)

He added villagers affected by the fire had all been rehoused but some were still living in temporary accommodation whilst waiting for a permanent home to become available.

An appeal by the parish council launched after the fire to raise funds for those who lost everything or were made homeless has raised more than £36,000.

Donations included £1,000 from Swaffham Rotary Club,.

Villagers also rallied round to donate food, clothes and toiletries.