Police suspect Barkingside fire started in attempt to burgle jewellers

Police suspect that a fire started in Barkingside High Street this morning was part of an attempt to burgle the jewellery shop next door.

Firemen were called at 1.45am to Manna House Christian centre, High Street, Barkingside.

Manna House was completely gutted and the next door Allan Irving Jewellers was severely damaged.

David Dukelow, 31, who works at Bairstow Eves in High Street, said: “I’m thankful it was out of hours, I just feel so sorry for the owners. They’re nice people and lots of people have been asking about them. It’s terrible.”

Shop owners say there have been numerous attempted robberies on the jewellery shop over the past year.

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Maria Vas, manager at Cancer Research in High Street, said: “He’s such a nice man, he does valuations free of charge for us and if he has things that have not been sold then he gives them to us. It’s really shocking.”

About 30 firemen were called to the scene and a fire brigade spokesman said the fire was brought under control very quickly.

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An eyewitness, who regularly visits the shop, said: “The whole footway is taped off, it’s completely blackened inside, there’s nothing in there.

“It’s terrible, especially with a long established business like that.

“I haven’t seen a fire like that in a long time.”

No one was injured in the fire and an investigation by police and fire authorities is underway.

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