St Albans’ biggest arson attack still unsolved, five years on

PUBLISHED: 21:00 11 August 2016

Batchwood fire. Photo courtesy Danny Connew

Batchwood fire. Photo courtesy Danny Connew


Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the fire that gutted Batchwood Golf and Tennis Centre in a suspected arson attack in the wake of the London riots.

Batchwood fire. Photo courtesy Danny ConnewBatchwood fire. Photo courtesy Danny Connew

Both the tennis centre and the bowls club were destroyed in the blaze, which broke out in the early hours of Wednesday, August 10, 2011.

Despite four men - aged 19, 23, and two aged 17, all of St Albans - being arrested on suspicion of arson around that time, they were released on bail, with no charges later laid.

Since then, a new £6.6 million sports centre has been built as a state-of-the-art replacement, yet Herts Police have taken no further action over the blaze.

A spokeswoman said yesterday: “The crime is finalised at this time; however should any further information be presented to police regarding this incident, this would be investigated.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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