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Fire at Britain's 'wonkiest' pub being treated as arson as specialist sniffer dog sent to examine rubble
9 August 2023, 18:55 | Updated: 9 August 2023, 19:50
The landmark pub which burnt down after catching fire over the weekend is being treated as suspicious, police have confirmed.
The 18th-century building, known as Britain's wonkiest pub, was damaged by a fire before swiftly being taken down by a digger.
Some 30 firefighters were needed to tackle the blaze at the pub in Himley, near Dudley in the West Midlands, on Saturday evening and it was demolished two days later.
Staffordshire police have said the pub's fire, which was based in Dudley, West Midlands is being treated as arson.
In a statement the force said: "Our investigation into a fire at the Crooked House on Himley Road last Saturday continues as we try to understand the circumstances, which we are now treating as arson."
A specialist sniffer dog is now understood to have been sent to examine the rubble.
Mourners gather at rubble of Crooked House to lament pub’s destruction
Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Chisholm, head of specialist crime at Staffordshire Police, said: "We understand the significance of this much-loved building, and the upset and anger felt by many, so want to reassure you we're doing all we can to understand more about what happened and who was responsible.
"There is lots of misinformation circulating within communities and online, and this is unhelpful. We're trying to provide accurate and timely updates, but as I am sure you can appreciate there is a lot of work and liaison with a number of partners which needs to be completed, and this takes time.
"There are also certain things that police and fire do not have the powers to deal with, the decision around partial demolition of the building, for example, when the scene was handed back to the owner.
"We are working hard with our fire colleagues to understand the cause of the fire and are in contact with the landowner, we will keep you updated with any further significant developments."
The new owners were identified by MailOnline as Carly Taylor, 34, and her husband Adam, 44, who bought The Crooked House last month.
The pub's destruction outraged locals and police are investigating the blaze, which happened two weeks after Marston's brewery sold it to a company in Warwickshire.
Developers who bought the 18th-century pub said it would no longer operate as such, according to the brewery.
It comes after the developers faced calls to rebuild the landmark pub "brick by brick" before it was demolished.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street said before the demolition: “This pub may be just over the border in your county of Staffordshire, but it clearly holds real cultural and historical significance to the West Midlands," Mr Street said.
"We therefore found it deeply upsetting to see the iconic location gutted in this way.
“We therefore ask you to consider ensuring the property is rebuilt brick by brick (using as much original material as possible) before any further discussion about the future of the site take place."
He added: "We would strongly ask you to consider not allowing any alternative use and instead keeping this iconic location as a pub. It is in all our interests that we do not allow the Crooked House pub to be consigned to history."