Essex

Southend pub fire was 'started deliberately'

Fire at The Esplanade, Southend Image copyright Essex Fire & Rescue Service
Image caption The blaze, which started in the early hours of Saturday, destroyed The Esplanade pub

A fire that destroyed a derelict seafront pub is being treated as arson.

Police said they were investigating the blaze which took place at The Esplanade in Southend, Essex, in the early hours of Saturday.

In recent years the site - which has been earmarked for development - has been targeted by vandals on several occasions.

Fire crews were initially called to the building at 03:50 GMT. They were then called back at 07:10 GMT.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: "We were called to Western Esplanade by the fire service at around 04:00 GMT on 22 December.

"It is believed the fire was started deliberately and we are investigating. Our inquiries are ongoing."

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