Historic pub in Dunstable destroyed in blaze

The fire at the Norman King pub in Church Street The fire at the Norman King pub in Church Street broke out at 00:15 BST

A historic pub in Bedfordshire has been destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

The fire broke out at about 00:15 BST at the Grade II listed Norman King pub in Church Street, Dunstable, police said.

The thatched building was being refurbished and was empty at the time of the fire.

Bedfordshire Police said the incident was being treated as arson and was not related to any public disturbances.

As a result of the smoke and rapid spread of the fire about 30 people who were staying in the neighbouring Old Palace Lodge hotel had to be moved to the Holiday Inn at junction nine of the M1.

Elderly residents of the Alms houses opposite the Norman King were initially taken to The Nags Head in High Street North but allowed to return to their properties by the fire service at around 02:30 BST.

No one was injured. Church Road was closed but reopened at 05:15 BST.

Police are examining the CCTV footage.

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