Arson at Havering Town Hall among spate of 'selfish' behaviour at Essex town

Havering Town Hall
-Credit: (Image: Sebastian Mann/LDRS)

A man is in custody after Havering Town Hall was hit by a suspected arson attack. London Fire Brigade and officers from Metropolitian Police were called to reports of a fire in a ground-floor office on Monday night (20th May).

Nobody was injured in the incident and the extent of the damage was minimised by the fire service, the council said. A spokesperson for the Met told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “London Fire Brigade were able to contain the fire to one office in the building.

“The fire was extinguished and it appears that it may have been started deliberately. A man was arrested and taken into custody where he remains.”

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Following the fire, Havering Council has closed off sections of the building to staff. Public events, including tonight’s annual council meeting, are still scheduled to go ahead. Council vehicles have also been damaged in the attack, Cllr Morgon added.

He said in a statement: “The Metropolitan Police already has a man in custody, and we will cooperate in any way we can to help with the investigation. This comes after a spate of incidents including windows being smashed at the Town Hall, Council vehicles being vandalised, and offensive graffiti sprayed in a nearby underpass.

“Although we don’t know if any of these incidents are connected, we are concerned about the apparent rise in vandalism and antisocial behaviour in Romford. This selfish behaviour ultimately results in additional pressure on already stretched council budgets when picking up the repairs and cleaning bill.”

It is the latest incident of vandalism targeted at the municipal building. Several windows were smashed – including those belonging to the office of council leader Ray Morgon – back in April, and offensive graffiti was sprayed on a nearby underpass. The windows have since been replaced and the crude graffiti has been washed away.

The Met’s investigation continues.

The windows on Havering Council were smashed in an apparent act of vandalism
The windows on Havering Council were smashed in an apparent act of vandalism

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