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Fire crews tackle blaze in town church as police say it was arson

The fire has badly damaged the roof of the church Credit: Chloe Hector

A fire that's ripped through a church in Royston is believed to have been started deliberately.

Six fire engines and an aerial ladder were called to St John the Baptist Church in Melbourn Street just after 3.30am

  • Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Stuart Leithes

It's reported that parts of the roof have collapsed. Roads in the area were closed to allow firefighters access to the historic building.

There are no reports of any injuries.

As the police and fire teams investigate the blaze that has left this church unable to welcome its parishioners at Christmas.

The vicar has urged people who want to donate money to wait until a fundraising link has been set up on their own website.

Crews battling the fire at Royston's St John the Baptist Church Credit: BCH Policing

“Understandably, this incident has caused a great deal of upset in the local community.

"Our investigations are continuing alongside our colleagues at Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service but we are treating the incident as suspicious."

– Detective Inspector Jason Keane

Police are urging anyone with information to come forward and help with their inquiries.

The fire broke out 3.30am Credit: Chloe Hector

The Bishop of St Albans has urged people to pray for the church community.

He said they would find a way to come together and celebrate Christmas even if the church was out of action.

The town's MP has expressed his sympathy.