Arson attack at former Hitchin Royal British Legion headquarters

Hitchin's former Royal British Legion headquarters in Paynes Park. Picture: Google Street View

Hitchin's former Royal British Legion headquarters in Paynes Park. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

Someone tried to burn down the former headquarters of Hitchin’s Royal British Legion branch at the weekend – and police have today appealed for witnesses.

At about 11.30pm on Friday night, someone called firefighters to reports of smoke coming from the former Royal British Legion Club in Paynes Park – which the branch left in 2014.

Police and firefighters attended and confirmed that the fire had been started deliberately inside the building.

Det Sgt Sarah Gilbertson, from the Hitchin local crime unit, said: “Luckily no-one was injured during this incident but this reckless action could have had very serious, or even fatal, consequences.

“I am appealing for anyone who has information about what happened, or who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area around the time stated, to please contact police.”


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A police spokeswoman told the Comet that it was unclear at this stage how the mysterious fire had been set, but that officers were sure it was deliberate.

The Royal British Legion’s head office has confirmed that the building is no longer Legion property. The building’s new owner, Market Homes (Hitchin) Ltd, has declined to comment.

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Market Homes (Hitchin) Ltd submitted a planning application in June to knock down the building and put up a three-storey block of 12 flats.

Consulations have been carried out, but a decision on the application has yet to be made.

Anyone with information should call the local crime unit at Hitchin Police Station on 101, quoting crime reference G1/17/3102, or report information online at contacthertspolice.uk/Report/Crime.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

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