Royston church fire not caused by arson
- Credit: Archant
A fire that destroyed part of a Royston church last year is no longer being considered as an arson attack, police have confirmed.
In the early hours of December 9, 2018, a fire started at St John the Baptist Church in Melbourn Street, with the blaze destroying part of the roof and bell tower.
Early indications led the police to believe that the fire may have been started deliberately or been caused by lead being removed from the roof.
However, an investigation has concluded that it was not arson.
Detective Constable Mike Hardiman saying: “Every possible line of enquiry has been followed. All initial aspects of this incident which supported the idea of third party involvement, have been investigated and ruled out.
“No lead had been taken, no equipment used by a would-be suspect was found and there were no tyre marks or foot prints found in the immediate area.
“I know that at the time there was great concern within the local community that the church had been deliberately targeted and this was very upsetting, particularly as it was in the run up to Christmas.
- 1 Family of patient who died from drug overdose speak out after inquest
- 2 Council confirms first monkeypox case in Hertfordshire
- 3 North Herts grass verge cutting to be reduced
- 4 Police find body in search for missing 71-year-old Raymond
- 5 All aboard for Steam at the Hoops festival in Bassingbourn
- 6 New mayor makes historic market her first stop
- 7 Royston drama group CADS wins new play award for The Blonde Bombshell at Welwyn festival
- 8 New mayor elected in historic moment for Royston Town Council
- 9 Tesco recalls pastry product over risks to people with nut allergies
- 10 5 things you might not have known about Herts county council's new chairman
“As the investigation progressed it became apparent that much of the initial evidence that suggested criminal behaviour could actually be accounted for and the incident was deemed as non suspicious.”
North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald has welcomed news that the fire was not arson.
He said: “I am relieved that the police have now confirmed that this was not an arson attack. “The church is a very special place for local people in the run up to Christmas. I had lit the Christmas Tree lights the week before with a large group there.
“Although it is still very sad the Church has been the victim of fire, I know many people will also be glad like me that this was not deliberate.”