Eastbourne Pier fire may have been deliberate

The blaze which wrecked part of Eastbourne Pier may have been started deliberately, police said.

The Grade II-listed Victorian landmark was engulfed in flames Wednesday which gutted its dome-shaped amusement arcade.

Sussex Police said they were now treating the fire as "suspicious".

"As a result of our investigation we have received information to suggest that the fire may have been started by someone, either deliberately or accidentally, and our investigation is now focusing on that line of enquiry," said Detective Inspector Mark O'Brien.

"A temporary scaffold platform has been erected adjacent to where the fire is thought to have broken out in order to enable scenes of crime officers and fire investigators safe access to the area."

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne visited the scene on Friday, observing the damage for themselves.

Downing Street announced that up to £2 million would be given to help Eastbourne's tourism industry cope with the loss of the attraction.

"I know that the loss of one of Eastbourne's most prominent and well-loved landmarks will have hit the town hard and I am determined to do all I can to help local businesses recover," Cameron said.

"It's a scene of some devastation, with the burnt and twisted metal, but what strikes you really very early on is really how much of the pier has been saved.

"Now what we need to do is make sure that Eastbourne doesn't suffer from what has happened."

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