UPDATE: Homeless man found dead after Beccles garage fire

A homeless man has died in Beccles after the garage he was sleeping in overnight caught fire.

The man, who went by the name Ray, had been allowed to sleep behind St Benet's Minster, but his body was found in the early hours this morning after the garage had caught fire.

Rev Tony Felton, parish deacon, said it was a tragic event and described the man as 'absolutely no bother to anyone'.

The man, who was thought to be in his 40s, was known to travel the country but had regularly made trips back to Beccles.

When he did, he was allowed to stay for a couple of nights at a time in the garage adjacent to the bungalow behind the church. The three-bedroom bungalow, in Grange Road, is reserved for the Minster's priest, but with a temporary priest currently in charge the house was unoccupied last night.

Rev Felton said: 'He was no trouble. We would let him kip in the garage until early morning when he would get up and clear away, so he was no nuisance.

'He was the only one we would let stay.'

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He said that the man had been doing this on and off for 20 years, and that he would have been staying there again on tonight. He had previously not been seen for 18 months and told Rev Felton he had been in Kent last week when he arrived yesterday.

Rev Felton said: 'We were all here for a wedding rehearsal in the church. The fellow came and poked his head round the door, so we gave him a bit of grub, a cup of tea and let him bed down for the night.'

Neighbours raised the alarm at around 12.30am this morning when they noticed the fire. The fire service attended and found the body inside.

The shed has been cordoned off and police and fire investigators are currently working on the scene. It's thought the likely cause of the blaze was a wood burning stove or barbecue that he was using.

The one-car garage is completely destroyed, while the electrics have been lost in the bungalow after its security light blew.

Police are conducting enquiries to try to formally identify him and are asking anyone with information about him or his next-of-kin to call Lowestoft CID on 01986 835300.

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