A group of youths allegedly set fire to a pile of rubbish outside a 12th-century abbey in an attempt to see the building up in flames.
Firefighters rushed to reports of a fire at Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire shortly after 9pm yesterday evening (Friday, 3 June).
But after a ten-mile blue light run to the scene from Chippenham, the fire crew discovered that the blaze was under control.
Local residents, including staff from The Bird Cage restaurant, The Old Bell Hotel and Co-Op Food store, managed to bring the fire under control using buckets of water and extinguishers.
One local resident praised their efforts on social media, writing: “It could have been a very different ending without everyone being so incredible. Well done everyone!”
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters used one hose reel, drags and a thermal imaging camera to tackle the fire.
The fire is understood to have started when yobs set fire to waste and refuse outside the abbey, which dates from the 12th century.
Wiltshire Police is understood to be aware and is investigating the incident.
Malmesbury Abbey is one of the oldest and most important religious sites in England with a history going back to at least the 7th century.
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