Remains of Crooked House pub fenced off as arson inquiry continues

Workers began to erect metal fencing around the site on Tuesday amid council concern over unstable ground at the site.

Work has begun to fence off the remains of the Crooked House pub, more than a week after its burnt-out shell was demolished following a suspected arson attack.

Workers at the site in Himley, near Dudley, West Midlands, said the immediate area was being sealed off with fencing for safety reasons, following protests against the pub’s destruction which saw signs and other tributes placed among the rubble.

Staffordshire Police have said officers are following a number of lines of inquiry into the blaze, which was reported to the emergency services at 10.45pm on Saturday August 5.

Crooked House fencing
Metal fencing began to be erected on Tuesday amid public safety fears (Matthew Cooper/PA)

Within 48 hours a digger had been used to demolish the remains of the landmark attraction, described as Britain’s wonkiest pub, which had been sold to a private buyer by Marston’s two weeks earlier.

Two men using a quad bike were seen at the site on Tuesday, starting to erect metal fencing immediately outside the remnants of the pub and across a lane leading to the site.

A mound of earth blocking access to vehicles also remains in place.

Two footpaths have previously been closed to the public by Staffordshire County Council, including one leading to the pub’s car park.

A notice telling walkers of the measures stated: “The closures are required following a fire at the Crooked House pub and concerns over the instability of the ground conditions following the demolition of the public house.

Crooked House pub fire
The outer walls of the pub remained intact after the blaze (Jacob King/PA)

“The closures will be for a period of 21 days from the date of this notice or until the works are completed, whichever is the earliest.”

In a statement issued last Friday, Staffordshire Police said South Staffordshire Council was conducting an investigation into the “demolition of the entire building, without appropriate permissions”.

Commenting on its investigation, leader of South Staffordshire Council Roger Lees said: “The council continues to work with partners and the police on this matter.

“We are also very much focused on our own investigation regarding the planning and building control breaches.

“We understand and empathise with everyone’s interest and concern surrounding this matter, but we are unable to comment any further at this stage as we do not wish to prejudice the investigations being carried out by ourselves or the police.

Crooked House pub fire
The pub’s burnt-out shell was reduced to rubble two days after the fire (Matthew Cooper/PA)

“These investigations must be our priority.

“As soon as we are able to provide any further updates, we will.”

The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, issued a call last week for the subsidence-hit pub, which dated back to the 18th century, to be rebuilt brick by brick.

Mr Street also urged local residents and former patrons of the pub to avoid taking items from its ruins, to maximise the chances of it being rebuilt.

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