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Scores of birds killed in second arson attack; Arrests follow as allotments targeted weeks after devastating fire.

A SECOND blaze at a set of allotments has claimed scores more racing pigeons - weeks after over 100 perished in a fire.

Emergency services were called to the allotments on Bolam Avenue beside Blyth Sports Centre at around 4.30am yesterday.

Six fire engines from Northumberland Fire and Rescue were on site for a number of hours bringing the blaze under control.

Police later arrested two men, 43 and 39, in connection with the fire, who are now being questioned.

Distraught owner Davey Rae said he lost his prized stock of pigeons in the fire, which he said hit 10 plots.

"The damage is devastating from what we can see, it looks like a bomb site," said the 59-year-old, of Blyth.

"There was another fire a fortnight ago and the one this morning was just another part of the whole allotments.

"I have lost my pigeons and the allotment is destroyed," said Davey, who has had his plot for around 40 years.

The grandfather-of-two said he lost more than 100 racing pigeons in the previous fire and said yesterday the fire claimed 16 pairs of his stock pigeons, which are special breeding pigeons. "I think, in the two fires, the value of all the pigeons was about PS25,000," he said.

"The stock pigeons were my main ones and I am totally devastated.

"The allotment is my pride and joy," said Davey, who works as a welder, and lives with wife, Brenda..

The father-of-three was informed just before 6am yesterday of the damage caused by the fire and said it had been hard to get his head around.

But he said he was glad the police were investigating. "I'm happy the police are looking into it and hopefully something will come of it," he said.

Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Harris said: "We're working to establish exactly what has happened and there are two people in custody who are helping with our inquiries.

"Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to get in touch with police as soon as possible."

A police spokesman said: "At 4.28am Tuesday, April 23, police received a report of a fire at allotments at Bolam Avenue, near Blyth Sports Centre.

"Police and the fire and rescue service attended and the fire was extinguished.

No one was injured in the incident.

"An investigation will be carried out into the cause of the fire in due course."

Fire crews and police in Northumberland also dealt with a suspected arson attack after two people had to be rescued from their home when a wheelie bin was set alight.

The emergency services were called to a home in Portia Street in Ashington shortly after 3am yesterday, and two people were rescued from a first-floor window by the fire crews and taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Neighbouring properties were evacuated as a precaution.

Fire investigators are working to establish the cause of the fire, however, early indications show the fire started in the wheelie bin next to the house and spread to a window, which ignited. Police believe the fire was started deliberately and are treating it as arson.

Anyone with information about either incident is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

CAPTION(S):

FIRE-RAVAGED Bolam Avenue allotments in Blyth

PROBE Police are quizzing two suspects
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 24, 2013
Words:558
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