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Blaze that gutted Dickens pub WAS arson

The Crispin and Crispianus pub in Strood has been destroyed by fire
The Crispin and Crispianus pub in Strood has been destroyed by fire

A fire that destroyed an historic pub frequented by Charles Dickens was started deliberately, inquiries have revealed.

The joint investigation by Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Medway police concluded that the Crispin and Crispianus pub in Strood was set alight in an arson attack.

The blaze ripped through the derelict pub in London Road on March 26. The roof of the timber building and most of the interior was destroyed.

The A2 was closed for days and traffic diverted around the site until the building was deemed safe.

Scaffolding was put up around the building shortly after the fire and it is still not known if the building will be restored or pulled down.

The pub had been closed since September last year and is believed to be owned by a property and estate management company in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Charles Dickens is said to have visited the Crispin on walks from his home at Gad's Hill, Higham.

A Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "Our investigations show the fire was started by deliberate ignition."

A police spokesman added: "Officers have made house to house inquiries and have viewed CCTV and followed all lines of inquiry to date. No one has been arrested in connection with the incident and we will continue to investigate.

"We appeal to anyone who knows anything about the fire to contact us on 01622 690 690."

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