Police investigating a fire that ripped through a former bingo hall in Sunderland have charged two men with arson.
On the evening of February 3, 2017, police were called to a huge blaze that had broken out at a building on The Green, in Southwick.
The fire started at about 5.30pm and prompted a significant emergency service operation, with more than 50 firefighters brought in to fight the flames.
The extent of the damage saw the property’s roof collapse into the street, with roads around the building – which was being used by an auction rooms business – cordoned off by police as a precaution. Thankfully, nobody was injured.
Following initial enquiries, it was ascertained that the fire was believed to have been started maliciously and an investigation was subsequently launched by police.
Now, two years on from the incident, police have charged Paul Bell, 45, of Foundary Row, Coxhoe, and Terry Mcewen, 47, of Southend Road, Gateshead, with arson.
They are due to appear before magistrates in South Tyneside tomorrow (Tuesday 16/07).
A man and a woman who were arrested as part of the initial investigation have been released with no further action to be taken.
Anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 864 030217 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Alternatively, you can email the officer in charge on [email protected].