Hunt on for Illuminations arson gang

Pat and Jess lie amid the wreckage of the former Illuminations depot, Rigby Rd, Blackpool.
Pat and Jess lie amid the wreckage of the former Illuminations depot, Rigby Rd, Blackpool.
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POLICE were today hunting four men seen fleeing the scene of a devastating blaze at Blackpool’s former Illuminations depot.

The fire, which broke out in the warehouse on Rigby Road, caused thousands of pounds of damage and destroyed several much-loved figures including the Postman Pat tableau.

Irreplaceable moulds may also have been ruined.

Council bosses fear the unique fibre-glass moulds – used to create the Illuminations – may also have been destroyed in Monday night’s fire.

And they are now resigned to the fact the building may have to be completely demolished as it is unsafe.

Four men were seen running away by a taxi driver and police are now trying to track them down.

Richard Ryan, Illuminations Manager for Blackpool Council, said security at the site had been in the process of being stepped up after a separate fire on Sunday night.

He said: “It’s extremely disappointing the reckless actions of a few people have damaged Illuminations millions of people have enjoyed seeing over the years.

“There was a fire on Rigby Road on Sunday night where our illuminated ice cream van was destroyed and we were in the process of increasing the security on the site when this second fire happened.

“The majority of our displays are stored at our lightworks depot at Squires Gate but there were a number, including Postman Pat, that were housed at Rigby Road.

“We have moulds of all our Illuminations to enable us to recreate them if the originals are damaged and we don’t now know what state these moulds are in. We need to wait for the site to be made safe before we can go in to fully assess the damage. We know some of the features will be destroyed but hopefully it possible to salvage others.