Arson investigation under way after fire at former Kettering bingo hall site

Emergency services were called to the scene yesterday afternoon

Monday, 18th October 2021, 11:25 am
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 1:30 pm
Gala Bingo, Kettering

Investigators believe a fire at Kettering's old Gala Bingo site yesterday (Sunday) was started deliberately.

Crews from Kettering and Rothwell raced to the High Street building at 4.07pm and found a blaze in a storage cupboard which had spread to an outbuilding.

They used four breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a 45mm jet to contain the flames and douse them.

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Firefighters also isolated electrics at the premises and then used two positive pressure ventilation fans to clear away the smoke.

Police were also called to the scene to move on a group of young people who were filming the incident.

Officers believe the fire was started deliberately.

Witnesses or anyone with information about the incident should call police on 101 using reference number 21000604674.

The old bingo hall, which closed in 2018, made headlines around the world in June 2019 and was even depicted in a 'Ganja Bingo' Christmas card from fellow High Street shop The Bean Hive.

Officers found a full house of 2,000 cannabis plants there, spread across two rooms right under shoppers' noses, worth a potential £2.8m.

Just four months before that another drug farm set up by brazen criminals had been discovered there by 'urban explorers'.

But despite a huge investigation and forensic evidence the case file into the 2019 raid was closed almost a year later, leaving police frustrated.

Since then the site sat empty for many months but in August work to remove asbestos from the site got under way, with workers on-site telling our reporters it was likely to become a banquet hall and Indian restaurant.