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Fire destroys boat hours after owners arrested in Lymm
1:00pm Wednesday 30th May 2012 in News
THE owners of a barge on Bridgewater Canal, Lymm, saw the interior of their boat completely destroyed by flames hours after they were arrested by police.
Friends Louise Bradford, aged 33, and Julian Knott, aged 49, who had been working on the canal boat named Pandora, have been handed cash by residents and told they can use the church to wash after a fire was started at 11.45pm on Friday.
Witnesses said other barges moved quickly after fears gas cannisters on the boat, which had been moored since last Wednesday, could have caused an explosion.
A dog walker, who did not want to be named, said: “The flames and heat had caused all the windows to smash and I could smell smoke from the other side of the village.
“The people on other barges looked terrified that the flames could spread to their boat.”
Cheshire Fire bosses confirmed arsonists had started the flames and the incident is currently being investigated by Cheshire Police.
They say the couple were arrested around 7pm for a public order offence and were still in custody in Runcorn when the fire happened.
On Tuesday signs were placed around the wreckage of the burnt-out barge reading accusing the police of not investigating.
Julian had been helping to restore the boat so Louise could live on it.
He said: “Someone has got on board and stolen our laptop and passports before setting fire to the boat using pages torn out of one of Louise’s books.
“We were playing a bit of music and a few people were hanging round having a good time when the police came out in droves and took us to Runcorn.”
But a number of residents said the incident followed a series of anti-social complaints regarding loud music being played on the boat and the boat owners’ behaviour.
A number of children were also seen near the boat.
A spokesman for the police said they were bailed and given a court summons for the public order.
No further action was taken on the other matter.
Police say they are currently trying to establish the circumstances surrounding the fire and anyone with any information is urged to call Warrington South NPU on 101 quoting incident number 1305 of 25th May.
Information can also be passed on anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.