Chichester fire confirmed as arson

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Police have confirmed a fire which has caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage in Tangmere was started deliberately.

Firefighters were working throughout the night after they were alerted to the blaze at 8.59pm yesterday evening (August 1).

The fire is currently still burning at Tangmere Airfield Nurseries, City Fields Way, on a site used by the Woodhorn Group, based in Oving, as one of their main recycling sites.

It is estimated 1,000 tonnes of wood caught fire.

Fire crews are still currently attending the scene, which it is estimated could be burning for some time, as they let the wood burn out.

They are ensuring that adjacent buildings are protected, and that the fire does not spread any further.

John Pitts, managing director of the Woodhorn Group said: “It’s 100 per cent certain it was arson. A pile of wood does not catch fire by itself.

None of our machinery was anywhere near where it caught fire. The only thing it could have been is deliberate.”

A spokesperson for Sussex Police later said: “Examination of the scene has established that the fire was started deliberately and police will investigate, with the fire service.”

Mr Pitts added: “All of the wood which we would have recycled will now be going into a landfill.

“At the moment we cannot say an exact figure, but it has certainly cost tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“And of course there’s the environmental cost as well of this wood now not being recycled.”

The recycling site is mainly used for composting, and takes green and garden waste from local houses and various sites.

It recycles wood from areas as far afield as Arundel, Chichester, Littlehampton, Worthing and Bognor Regis.