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McDonald's arsonists caught on film

DETECTIVES are studying charred CCTV footage of balaclava clad arsonists starting a fire which destroyed a McDonald's takeaway at Sturry, near Canterbury.

The damage and loss to the business has now been estimated at £500,000 but the company still hopes to re-build and be back in business within a month.

The video tape retrieved from an internal camera shows a stolen Ford Sierra parked in the drive-through lane seconds before being set alight. Several figures in balaclavas are seen moving around before the fire in the early hours of Monday.

The flames quickly spread to the roof of the building and more than 25 firefighters battled for an hour and a half on to bring the blaze under control.

Detectives are now anxious to hear from anyone who saw the stolen blue G registration Ford Sierra being driven around before the fire. It was taken from the Canterbury area earlier in the evening. They also believe the arsonists may have used another vehicle to get away from the scene.

Det Sgt Mark Nottage said: "There is little doubt that this fire was started deliberately. It has caused considerable damage and put firefighters lives at risk.

"We have also examined the possibility that it may have been started by an organisation like the Animal Liberation Front, but there is no evidence of that. Anyone who can help us with our enquiries should call CID on 01227 817154 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111."

Between 60 to 70 full time and part-time staff work at the takeaway and most are being re-deployed in other branches until the outlet re-opens.

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