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Residents 'brought to tears' by suspected arson attack on village pavilion in Hersden near Canterbury

Arsonists are suspected to have targeted a village pavilion early this morning, the second blaze to hit the venue in the last couple of weeks.

Thick black smoke from the fire could be seen billowing into the sky in the village of Hersden near Canterbury.

At its height, four fire engines were sent to the scene to fight the flames.

Police who are treating the incident as suspicious are now completing house-to-house enquiries in the area.

The scene is also being forensically examined.

District commander, chief inspector Julien Lawton said: "We believe the fire was started deliberately and are very keen to hear from anyone who may have seen anything at all unusual or suspicious.

"I would also appeal to nearby residents, who have not yet spoken to my officers, to check any CCTV they may have outside their homes."

Nearby residents could see the fire unfolding from their bedroom windows Picture: Louise Murhpy Waite
Nearby residents could see the fire unfolding from their bedroom windows Picture: Louise Murhpy Waite

People living nearby said it is not the first time the building has been hit by fire. Police are investigating an arson attack which happened there just over a week ago.

One man who didn't want to be named, said: "It is the second time in two weeks. It is such a shame."

Louise Murphy Waite, of Shaftesbury Road, whose bedroom window looks straight across to the pavilion said the building had been out of action.

It follows a break in last year, where all the wiring and boilers were stripped.

The fire broke out earlier this morning
The fire broke out earlier this morning

It's understood the council were in the middle of refurbishing it so that Chislet FC could continue to use the football pitches.

She said: "The pavilion, having been out of use, has meant our football club has not been able to play any home games now it looks like it will be the same next season too.

"It’s part of our heritage which is why this saddens me so much.

"It’s like watching our memories burn down this morning. It actually brought me to tears."

A spokesman for the fire service, said: "No casualties have been reported and the exact cause is not yet known."

Crews in four engines attended the scene
Crews in four engines attended the scene

Anyone with information which may assist the investigation, is asked to call the Kent Police on 01843 222289, quoting reference 4-0162.

You can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555111 or use the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org

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