Arsonists strike across March over weekend when a sports club and a school were targets

By ADAM LAZZARI MARCH Town Bowls Club, Neale-Wade Community College and two houses on the same street were hit in a spree of arson attacks over the last three days. Arsonists also targeted the home of a 93 year old deaf pensioner who lives alone. Luckily

By ADAM LAZZARI

MARCH Town Bowls Club, Neale-Wade Community College and two houses on the same street were hit in a spree of arson attacks over the last three days.

Arsonists also targeted the home of a 93 year old deaf pensioner who lives alone. Luckily she was not at home at the time.

The bowls club, off The Causeway, suffered the most damage with their cellar, bar and social room destroyed.


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They were all in part of a 25 x 30 metre wooden building next, half of which was ripped apart by flames, with only the kitchen surviving.

Cyril Scotcher, chairman of March Town Bowls Club, said: "It looks like some people have broken into the club to steal the alcohol in there and set the place on fire to cover their tracks and destroy the evidence.

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"There are track marks on the cricket field behind the club so it looks like they loaded up some barrows and made there getaway down there.

"Trophies and the honours board, which dates back to the 1970s, have been completely destroyed and these will never be replaced.

"I can only guess that some druggies were after some quick, easy money, they don't think about the amount of time and effort that people put in to the club."

Former bowls club member David Hudson said: "I've heard there was a massive blaze and the fire extinguishers have been moved so it appears that the people who did this have tried to put the fire out.

"I don't know if they regretted what they had done or didn't think the fire would be so big.

"If the wind had blown the other way the nearby bungalows could have been set alight.

"There are also gas cylinders in the bar, so it could have been much worse."

Police were alerted to the fire at the bowls club at 5.33am today and just over an hour they were called to a fire at an outbuilding at Neale-Wade Community College.

The 6 x 3 metre building was used to store tables and chairs will now have to be demolished due to structural damage.

Hockey equipment, belonging to March Town Hockey Club, believed to be worth approximately �7,000, was also stored in the building and has been completely destroyed.

School principal Tim Hitch said: "We've had an assembly about this today.

"Our pupils are very angry that somebody would set fire to their school.

"We have also put security officers on site so hopefully police will be able to catch whoever did this very soon."

March Town Hockey Club chairman Adam Triggs said: "It's taken us years to raise money for this equipment.

"It will take years to replace it.

"We are trying to do something positive in March and I'm absolutely devastated that somebody could do this."

The arson spree started at Rookswood Road, March at 6.15pm on Saturday when a wheelie bin was set alight.

It was put out by Hayley Smith, 25, who lived at the house.

Approximately two hours later the fire service was called out to a house on the same street, in which 93-year-old woman lives alone.

It is believed that the fire was started by somebody pushing papers through the letterbox.

The woman's house was hit again at 7.40pm on Sunday again by somebody again pushing paper through the letter box.

The woman was away visiting family and not in the house during both fires and it is believed the house has suffered minor smoke damage.

Her grandson said: "She has never hurt anybody and she will come back to see her house like this.

"She is deaf and she wouldn't have heard anything if she had been here. We're very lucky she was away."

Miss Smith said: "I've been very frightened by this.

"I've slept on my sofa in the living room with the blinds open so I can see if anyone is out there acting suspiciously and I've jammed my letterbox closed.

"I've only lived here for a few weeks and I don't deserve this."

Anyone with information should contact Cambridgeshire Police on 03455 4564564 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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