An investigation has begun into the cause of a fire at the former NatWest bank in Market Street, Crewkerne, where suspected cannabis plants were being grown. Scenes of Crime Officers and a Fire Investigation Officer attended the Grade 2* listed building today and Police are looking for CCTV footage covering the immediate area, which may help with their enquiries.

Avon & Somerset Police released a statement today at 13:32 hrs stating: “As well as enquiries alongside Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service to establish the cause of the blaze, we’re carrying out searches and a forensic investigation after suspected cannabis plants were discovered being grown in the property. If you have any information which could help the investigation, please call 101 quoting reference 5221038694.”

The historic building of Georgian architecture and a fine example of one of the first purpose built banks in England received 80% damage by fire and heat on the roof and third floor with 100% smoke damage to the rest of the building in yesterday’s fire which was attended by fire crews from across Devon, Somerset and Dorset and other emergency personnel from the Police and Ambulance services.

A section of the roof had to be cut away to gain access to the fire and dampen down the property in yesterday’s major operation, which included using three hose reel jets, one safety jet, one covering jet, a thermal image camera, ladders, aerial ladder platform, breathing apparatus and the police drone. Crewkerne Fire Station were still in attendance at 07:00 hrs this morning, for a revisit to check the scene of the incident. Market Street which had been closed during the operation has now fully reopened to traffic.

The owner of the former bank building was undisclosed when they successfully closed the bidding at £220,000 on October 31st 2019 at the West Country auction by Clive Emson Land & Property Auctioneers in the St Mellion International Resort hotel complex in Saltash, Cornwall. Our featured photo showing the aerial ladder platform being used in the background was taken by Nicolas Atkinson of Grand Interiors.

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