March church destroyed by fire

A 19th Century March Church has been almost completely destroyed after a suspected arson attack.

Emergency services were called at 10.17 this morning to reports of a major fire at St Mary's in Westry.

Around 35 firefighters were needed to bring the flames under control.

A spokesperson from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue said: "The church is 100% destroyed by fire apart from the exterior brickwork and the building is now structurally unsafe.

"An investigation is now underway but the fire is being treated as suspicious."

The A141 Wisbech Road has been cordoned off by police.

Jan French, of Fenland District Council, said she had heard reports that vandals started the fire.

"I understand it started when a pile of Bibles and prayer books was set alight," said Ms French, who lives in the village. The caretaker was on his way in and was stopped by a passer-by who saw smoke coming out of the building.

The councillor said the 130-year-old church was the subject of a vandal attack only last week.

She added: "It was a beautiful church: it is devastating. I'm appalled that anyone would do this to any building, let alone a church."

The police are appealing for anyone who saw anything suspicious between 10pm last night and 10am this morning to get in touch with DC Simon Russ at Wisbech Police Station on 0345 456 464.

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