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CCTV footage could hold clues to blaze

PUBLISHED: 18:56 28 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 22 October 2010

Police investigators survey the aftermath of the fire at Herbert Woods Boatyard, Potter Heigham.

Police investigators survey the aftermath of the fire at Herbert Woods Boatyard, Potter Heigham.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

Security camera footage of a vehicle in the car park at a Broads boatyard could hold vital clues as to what caused a massive blaze destroying 13 motor cruisers, police have revealed.

Security camera footage of a vehicle in the car park at a Broads boatyard could hold vital clues as to what caused a massive blaze destroying 13 motor cruisers, police have revealed.

The closed circuit television (CCTV) images show a car driving out of Herbert Woods boatyard, Potter Heigham, near Yarmouth, at 2.23am on Tuesday - seven minutes before the glow of a fire was noticed in a boat shed on the edge of the site.

Det Insp Andy Guy, leading the inquiry from North Walsham Police Station, confirmed they were now treating the blaze as an arson attack.

On Wednesday, about a dozen officers from Norfolk Constabulary's mobile support team were combing ground surrounding the Bridge Road boatyard looking for evidence.

Meanwhile, local uniformed and CID officers were conducting house-to-house inquiries in the village. But Norfolk Broads Direct, which runs Herbert Woods boatyard, stressed that the blaze has not affected their business, which is open as usual to holidaymakers.

Det Insp Guy said: “The vehicle turned left out of Herbert Woods boatyard towards the post office at Potter Heigham. From there, it could have continued on towards Ludham or turned right on to the A149 road.

“We would appeal to any witnesses who may have been in that area between 2.15am and 2.45am.”

He stressed that although no one was injured the consequences could have been far worse but for the quick work of Norfolk Fire Service.

If the blaze had spread it could have affected neighbouring chalets and holidaymakers' boats at the yard.

Twelve of the 13 two to four-berth cruisers destroyed were being sold by brokers Waterside Marine, which rents moorings in the shed.

Company employees were busy trying to contact owners to break the news.

Newcastle holidaymaker John McClen, staying on a cruiser moored at the basin, had been the first to dial 999 when he saw the blaze shortly after 2.30am.

Original plans to crane out the remains of the boats, together worth nearly £100,000, have been put on hold after advice from Home Office forensic scientists.

Det Insp Guy said: “All that is left is the bottom sections which would be unlikely to provide any evidence, so we have no immediate plans to lift out the boats.”

t Any witnesses are asked to call North Walsham CID on 01692 401085.


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