Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd says news that the blaze which ravaged the pier on Wednesday is being treated as suspicious is ‘upsetting’.
Police investigating the fire have confirmed this afternoon (Friday, August 1) that they are now treating the incident as suspicious.
Detective Inspector Mark O’Brien said, “As a result of our investigation we have received information to suggest that the fire may have been started by someone, either deliberately or accidently, and our investigation is now focusing on that line of enquiry.
“A temporary scaffold platform has been erected adjacent to where the fire is thought to have broken out in order to enable scenes of crime officers and fire investigators safe access to the area.”
Mr Lloyd added, “I’ve just been told by the police that it appears the fire may, and they stress may, have been started deliberately. And therefore they will be investigating whether or not it was actually arson.
“If it does prove to be the case, I am absolutely disgusted that anybody could want to cause any intentional damage to our beloved pier.
“The police have asked me to put the call out that if any local residents have photographs or video taken at the entrance or actually on the pier in the hours before the fire started.
“Please do email them at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Operation Barsham.
“This is very upsetting news, but I know it will not change our town’s whole approach to the fire on our pier.
“We remain focussed on getting it up and running as soon as possible, helping the kiosk holders regain their livelihoods, and importantly continuing to broadcast that Eastbourne is well and truly open for business.
“Our town and the affection we all hold for our pier, are bigger than whatever happened the other night. Of that I am sure!”
Superintendent Laurence Taylor added, “The area around and under the pier is still very hazardous and there is a security team deployed to stop people putting themselves in danger. I would ask that you assist them by not trying to get too close and I would especially ask parents to make sure that their children are aware of the dangers.”