17-year-old arrested following suspected arson at the historic All Saints Church

Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
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Hampshire Police arrested a 17-year-old on suspicion of arson at the historic All Saints Church in Fleet, Hampshire.

Fire crews spent three hours tackling the blaze and police arrived at the scene at 5:49pm on June 22.

In an online statement posted on the church’s website, Vicar Mark Hayton said:

“The destruction of a church is a cause of deep sorrow, not just for churchgoers but for the whole community.

“We are in profound shock but thankful that no-one was hurt in the fire.”

“The destruction of a church is a cause of deep sorrow, not just for churchgoers but for the whole community.

“We are in profound shock but thankful that no-one was hurt in the fire.

“The cause and extent of the damage is not yet fully known but the roof has been destroyed and the interior of the church appears to be almost completely gutted.

“We would like to thank Hampshire Fire Brigade for their terrific response and valiant efforts to contain the fire.

“Please pray for all those connected with the church who will be feeling its loss keenly. Especially those who were due to be married there in the coming days and weeks.

“Our congregations will find strength together and in God and will continue to meet at the parish’s St Philip and St James’ Church.

“We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and shared sorrow that has reached us since news of the fire spread.”

Interested parties can support the rebuilding of the church in various ways. Thankfully, insurance will cover the main restoration costs; but it requires additional support in ensuring the church is once again at the heart of the community. Tributes to the church quickly flooded their website.

A statement from Hampshire’s Fire and Rescue Service details the severity of the fire.

The church, built in 1862, is popular for weddings and hosts a monthly lunchtime concert followed by a lunch in the community centre.

Sergeant Rob Wallis from Fleet Neighbour Policing Team stated: “The fire has completely destroyed the church and has understandably caused concern within the local community.

“Our officers are in the area providing reassurance to local churches and the community.”

The 17 year-old has been bailed until August 27, pending further investigation.

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