Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Blaze at cricket pavilion in Hampshire following raid

Fire damage caused to the bar area of the pavilion
Image caption The fire ripped a hole in the roof and caused smoke damage to paintings

A fire at a cricket pavilion in Hampshire is thought to have been caused by an angle grinder which raiders used to break into a safe.

Firefighters were called to Odiham and Greywell Cricket Club in King Street, Odiham, on Saturday morning.

It is believed sparks from the grinder started the blaze at the 30-year-old wooden pavilion, a club spokesman said.

Police said they would not speculate on the cause of the blaze until a fire investigation had concluded.

Bill Edmunds, captain of the club's Sunday 2nds team, said: "Thieves broke into the club safe with an angle grinder. We assume the sparks from the grinder caused the fire.

'In tears'

"It's a wooden structure, about 30 years old, the kitchen and the bar area just went up in flames.

"There's a hole in the roof and some team photos and some quite expensive paintings, including one of Hampshire and West Indies' Malcolm Marshall, have smoke damage, as has one side of the building."

Mr Edmunds, who has played for the club for 27 years, said a decision would be made later as to whether the pavilion could be restored.

"All of the members were in shock and some were in tears," he said.

Image caption The club is due to celebrate its 350th anniversary in 2014

"The cricket club has been around since 1764 at various grounds, so it will be the 350th anniversary in 2014."

Mr Edmunds confirmed the raiders had escaped with the previous night's takings from the bar after breaking into the safe.

Firefighters, who were called to the pavilion at 07:46 GMT, tackled the blaze with hose jets.

"A joint fire investigation will be carried out along with police", A Hampshire Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said.

Anyone with information about the raid is asked to contact Hampshire Constabulary.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites