Police probe links between blaze which destroyed Christchurch Park’s outdoor classroom and second started from its embers

Suffolk firefighters tackle a blaze in Christchurch Park which destroyed an outdoor classroom. Pictu

Suffolk firefighters tackle a blaze in Christchurch Park which destroyed an outdoor classroom. Picture: JOHN RICHARDSON - Credit: Archant

Detectives investigating two fires – one of which destroyed an outdoor classroom in Christchurch Park – are appealing to the public to help them establish what happened.

Credit: JOHN RICHARDSON

Police are continuing to probe possible links between a blaze which burned down a popular education hut close to the park’s Bolton Lane entrance on Monday and a second fire which sparked in the classroom’s remains just three days later on Thursday.

Richard King, an Ipswich-based craftsman who spent five weeks building the classroom in the David Mapus-Smith orchard near the children’s play park, said it was “gutting” to see his work go up in flames.

Mr King, who runs the Magic Garden Shed Company, said: “It is gutting. It was a particular favourite, I really loved the shape and structure of it.”

Fire crews spent an hour tackling the blaze on Monday evening and a joint police and fire investigation was launched into the cause.

The burned-out thatched hut in Christchurch Park. Picture: ARCHANT

The burned-out thatched hut in Christchurch Park. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

See video of firefighters tackling blaze which destroyed outdoor classroom in Ipswich’s Christchurch ParkHowever, now a second fire has sparked in the same location – to which fire crews were called on Thursday evening – they are appealing to the public for help in identifying people who were spotted close to the scene.

Four males were seen in the area after the first fire according to witnesses, police have said, and now detectives want people to get in touch with any descriptions of the group.

They are investigating the possibility that both fires were started deliberately, a police spokeswoman added.

Outdoor classroom at Christchurch Park took five weeks to build - and one hour to burn downCouncil bosses said park goers and residents have voiced their concerns and anger in the wake of both incidents.

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A spokesman said: “Reports of a second fire at the outdoor classroom in the park are almost unbelievable.

“The original blaze was very upsetting and many park goers and other residents have voiced their concerns and anger.

“But for the remains of the building to be set on fire just a few days later is terrible.

“We urge anyone who has any information about this incident to contact the police.”

• Members of the public who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area at the time should call Suffolk Constabulary on 101 quoting CAD number CAD 447 if their information relates to Thursday’s fire.

For calls relating to Monday’s fire, dial 101 referencing CAD number 386 of July 24.

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