Club's fury at latest fire attack

FURIOUS members of an Ipswich bowls club were today counting the cost of the latest arson attack on their clubhouse – less than two years after firebugs burned their headquarters to the ground.

FURIOUS members of an Ipswich bowls club were today counting the cost of the latest arson attack on their clubhouse - less than two years after firebugs burned their headquarters to the ground.

Thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to the interior of Holywells Bowls Club after vandals broke in during the early hours yesterday.

They set fire to furniture and kitchen equipment, leaving the whole interior of the clubhouse a blackened mess.

"There were five separate fires started, and it was quite fierce - there was so much heat that it melted the aluminium legs of a table," said club secretary Derek Page.


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The vandals used considerable force to break in through the front door of the clubhouse, which was bolted as well as deadlocked.

"I don't know why they do it. There doesn't seem any point to it. At the most they could have got £2 from a plastic container we keep in there," he said.

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The fire destroyed the furniture in the clubhouse which had been bought with money given to the club from the locality budget of county councillor Janet Sibley.

"We'll have to see if some of the chairs can be cleaned, but I think most of the furniture has been destroyed.

"We'll have to redecorate and replace the floor covering, and all the windows have been smashed and the electric shutters broken," Mr Page said.

"At least the structure of the building itself hasn't been damaged. We shall repair it and get things back to normal here."

Local councillor Liz Harsant said she had asked for improved security at the park.

"I think people come in over the fence at the back - that isn't difficult for youngsters wanting to cause trouble.

"And it would be good to have permanent CCTV coverage here - that would be a deterrent.

"But it is all so depressing when you think of what the bowls club has had to put up with," she said.

The bowls club's former wooden pavilion was destroyed by arsonists in September 2002.

A replacement building, made of reinforced steel and with security shutters was opened last September.

The weekend attack showed that the structure of the new building was able to contain fire.

"We shall have another look at security now. It may be that we change the way the front door opens," said Mr Page.

How would you combat vandalism in Holywells Park? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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