Arsonists attack town

A TREASURED “jewel in the crown” of a historic Suffolk town has been targeted by “mindless louts”, who kicked out door panels to break into the 150-year-old building before starting a fire inside.

A TREASURED “jewel in the crown” of a historic Suffolk town has been targeted by “mindless louts”, who kicked out door panels to break into the 150-year-old building before starting a fire inside.

The much-loved Roundhouse, which has stood proudly at the heart of Bury St Edmunds' Cattle Market site since the mid-1800s, was hit late on Friday, by yobs who set the blaze in the timber building after smashing through its wooden walls.

It is believed the historic pavilion, which is a valued part of the town's market roots, was only saved due to the prompt actions of CCTV staff, as it is thought operators spotted the vandals and alerted the emergency services quickly, preventing the spread of the blaze.

“The people who do things like this are mindless louts who should be locked up for a long time. This is so pointless,” said Frank Warby, portfolio holder for housing, health and crime on St Edmundsbury Borough Council.


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“Those responsible will have been caught on CCTV as the whole car park is covered by cameras. It is likely that the operators saw these people and contacted the emergency services quickly, which helped limit the damage.

“The Roundhouse is a nice building, and part of our history. The council is planning to take it down piece-by-piece and re-erect it piece-by-piece, elsewhere on the site, as part of the Cattle Market redevelopment as we have a duty to preserve our history.”

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Firecrews were called to the Cattle Market late on Friday night, and managed to prevent the blaze from taking hold in the timber Roundhouse, keeping damage to a minimum.

Workmen arrived on scene on Saturday morning to repair damage to the lower wooden panels of the distinctive building, which was opened in 1864 to collect tolls from farmers selling livestock at the market.

“Vandalism like this is very pointless,” said David Rees, a Bury Society committee member and former chairman. “The Roundhouse is a nice little jewel in Bury's crown.

“I do not know if it is unique, but it does remind us of what used to happen at the Cattle Market site in past years.

“The other thing that is good about it is that it has a very nice slate roof, where every row is different. The whole thing is very attractive.

“We believe the building should be listed, as it would be nice to see that protection put on it.”

Unsuccessful attempts were made earlier this year to list the building, which is known as the “Roundhouse”, even though it is octagonal in shape.

And St Edmundsbury Borough Council has vowed to protect it once the £85m retail and residential redevelopment begins on the Cattle Market, by taking it apart piece-by-piece and reconstructing it elsewhere on the site.

Speaking after the blaze, a spokesman for Suffolk police confirmed officers had been called to a “small, suspicious fire” and appealed for witnesses to the arson attack, which happened at around 11pm, to contact officers.

Anyone with information should call 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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