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Appeal for witnesses to Lesnes Abbey arson attack

PUBLISHED: 13:32 27 March 2015 | UPDATED: 13:32 27 March 2015

Lesnes Abbey

Lesnes Abbey

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Damage caused to 800-year-old grade II Listed building

Police are looking for witnesses who can help identify the person, or persons, responsible for recent fire damage at Lesnes Abbey ruins.

Last week on March 16, Bexley council staff discovered a fire had been lit in an archway of the historic grade II Listed building, leaving walls and floor marked by smoke and fire damage.

Cabinet member Cllr Alex Sawyer explained: “The Lesnes Abbey ruins are more than 800 years old and are one of Bexley’s treasures. This is an act of senseless vandalism that is of great concern to all of us.

“We are liaising with English Heritage and will continue with our high standards of care and maintenance of this Scheduled Ancient Monument, to make sure that visitors to the park continue to enjoy this special heritage site.”

Investigating officer PC Chris Molnar said: “Lesnes Abbey is a unique, historic monument and this arson attack is nothing but disgraceful. It is a selfish act that will worry the local community and the thousands of people who visit this wonderful park.

“We urge anyone who witnessed the fire, or those who they know are responsible, to come forward. Do not protect this person, or persons - they do not deserve it. You can contact me by calling 020 8721 2049 or email Thamesmead.SNT@met.police.uk. If you prefer, you can call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

In January 2014, Bexley council secured £3,468,000 for the Lesnes Abbey Woods Enhancement Project through the Parks for People funding programme from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG).

The project will encourage new and existing visitors to enjoy the amazing natural and human history of the park. With a number of community events and educational sessions, the project will also introduce an exciting and wide ranging volunteering programme, apprenticeship scheme and work placements.

For more information on the project please, go to www.visitlesnes.co.uk

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