Teenage trio quizzed after retail park fire

The scene of the fire
The scene of the fire

THREE teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of starting an inferno at an Eastbourne retail park which caused millions of pounds of damage.

Two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old boy, all from Eastbourne, were taken into custody on Tuesday (December 14) in connection with a fire which blazed through Boots in Crumbles Retail Park on Saturday night (December 11). They were released on bail until January 20.

Detective Inspector Paul Phelps said, “I am pleased we were able to make arrests so quickly after this terrible incident.

“I would like to thank the local media for their coverage, which no doubt led to the swift arrests.

“The police investigation has now concluded and we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the fire.

“The case will be submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service for their consideration.”

The fire started at the back of Boots and ripped through the rear of the store, spreading to the mezzanine floor and melting the roof.

The fire crept into adjoining Sports Direct and Next and Matalan suffered smoke damage.

All shops have been sealed from the public by metal grills.

Boots said they will be closed for the ‘foreseeable future’ and Matalan added they closed as a precautionary measure but no physical damage had been done to the building.

A spokesperson for the pharmacy said, “We will be opening temporary premises close to our Sovereign Harbour store, which will provide a pharmacy service for the local community.

“We have been able to redeploy all our permanent staff to a Boots store close to their place of residence and have also found redeployment for all our temporary staff ensuring no loss of jobs.”

More than 80 firefighters used 14 appliances to battle the blaze, including two aerial platforms and a high-volume pump to gather water from the sea and dump on the fire.

Fire crews were still putting out small pockets of fire the following day on Sunday (December 12) and the incident was finally closed the following day.

Police are still appealing for information. Call Sussex Police on 0845 6070999 quoting serial 1477 of 11/12 or anonymously telephone independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Above: The roof at Boots - picture by Paul Rudden