0 Suspicious fire at Castle Point Golf Club

AN early-morning fire destroyed £300,000 worth of equipment at a golf course.Dozens of calls were made to the fire service after the blaze started in a greenkeeper's shed at Castle Point Golf Club. Police and fire officers are investigating whether the fire was started deliberately.

Twelve golf buggies and lawnmowers were destroyed and part of the driving range damaged. Four fire engines were sent to the single-storey building, in Somnes Avenue, Canvey, which was 70 per cent alight when they arrived shortly after 3am yesterday. They spent two hours tackling the blaze.

The 75-acre course is part of the Glendale group. Managing director Neil Simpson arrived at the scene after the fire had been put out. He said: "It was horrendous. There was just charcoal left.

"The fire has destroyed everything in the shed. There were three lawnmowers, worth around £5,000, along with other machines and a tractor.

"They are just mangled and the building looks like a write-off. It is a minimum of £300,000 damage." Mr Simpson added: "The driving range will remain closed for the foreseeable future. But the fire has not affected the golf course itself, which will remain open.

"This is an important time for getting the course ready for the winter.We are taking stock of everything that has been destroyed. We will also put into place a plan to borrow equipment from some of the other golf courses in the group for the next few days. At the end of the day we will go on and maintain the course."

Firemen used a thermal imaging camera and breathing apparatus. Paul Jones from Canvey fire station said: "The building was well alight when we arrived."

Police spokesman Donna Veasey confirmed an investigation would take place.

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