Cause of blaze is investigated - 12PM UPDATE

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An investigation into the cause of a major fire on a Corby industrial estate has found that the blaze was started deliberately.

Officers are appealing for witnesses following the suspected arson at a factory in Shelton Road, Corby. The incident took place between 5.15am and 5.40am on Tuesday, March 20.

A vehicle stolen from Leicestershire was used in a ram raid to gain entry to the property. The factory was subsequently set alight by the offenders.

Employees were unable to get to work on the Willowbrook East industrial estate as the blaze tore through industrial units.

Nearby Steel Road was closed up to the A43 as firefighters battled to bring the flames under control.

Usual business resumed yesterday for some companies but others remained unable to operate from their premises.

Design company Eggbox Graphics, which is based in the block of affected units, escaped fire damage but staff were unable to return to work yesterday as electricity remained off.

Chris Turner, owner of Eggbox Graphics, said computer equipment was collected from the site on Monday evening to allow employees to work from home yesterday. The firm offered KCS Group, which had severely damaged premises, office space.

Mr Turner said: “It’s not an easy time at the moment. Other units were completely destroyed, our business is still there, it’s a case now of getting electricity in to make us function again.

“It is very friendly in the courtyard and we all get on very well. We are all trying to help each other get through it.”

Stuart Clark, a worker at nearby Jaycee Engineering, said: “We weren’t allowed in on Monday as the road was blocked off. We have now gone back to normal.

“We went over to have a look at the buildings and they were a bit of a mess – I can’t see them recovering any time soon.”

A warehouse for glue firm Cartell UK was also damaged. A spokesman for the firm declined to comment.

David Harding, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service area manager, said there should be “no reason for continuing concern” among residents. He said: “We still have a presence there dampening down residual small pockets of fire as in most incidents of this scale. We have begun the fire service investigation.”

The council-run Corby Enterprise Centre offered to help affected businesses as it did with Catalent following its blaze in March last year.

Deputy Corby council leader Cllr Mark Pengelly said: “We want them to stay in Corby and we want to help them in the short and long-term.”

Witnesses to this incident, or anyone with information, should call Northamptonshire Police on 101 - alternatively, information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.