Arson destroys Old Boatyard on A22 in Whyteleafe

Fire investigation unit (generic)
Image caption Fire investigation officers are working with Surrey Police on the Old Boatyard investigation

A fire which destroyed a derelict building and shut the A22 is believed to have been started deliberately.

Surrey Police said witnesses saw three people running out of the Old Boatyard in Godstone Road, Whyteleafe.

Homes near the fire were evacuated after emergency services were called shortly before 00:30 BST on Tuesday. Residents were later allowed to return.

The road has been closed all day, with traffic diversions in place and the building will have to be demolished.

"Those responsible for this reckless arson have caused untold inconvenience to those living near the scene as well as motorists and rail passengers in the area," said Det Con Errol Chetty.

The blaze is being investigated by fire and police officers.

House-to-house inquiries have been carried out and police are studying CCTV from the nearby BP petrol station.

About 30 firefighters from London and Surrey were at the scene at the height of the blaze in the three-storey building.

One fire appliance remained at the scene on Tuesday evening to ensure the safety of the area.

Police have appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

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