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Two men arrested for arson after Crooked House pub burns down after being sold

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life after a fire at the Crooked House pub.

A 66-year-old man, from Dudley, and a 33-year-old man, from Milton Keynes, remain in custody and are being questioned by officers while the investigation continues, Staffordshire Police said.

The blaze at the pub in Himley, West Midlands, was reported to the emergency services at 10.45pm on August 5.

The burnt-out shell of the landmark pub, famed for its wonky walls and floors due to mining-related subsidence, was demolished without permission within 48 hours of the fire.

The blaze came just two weeks after the building, which opened as a pub in the 18th century, was sold by brewer Marston’s to a private buyer.

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Dudley North MP Marco Longhi told a public meeting at nearby Himley Hall last week that he would “love to see a Crooked House law” put in place to protect other pubs from the same fate.

South Staffordshire Council said this week it will closely monitor work at the Crooked House pub after securing an agreement that bricks and foundations will be kept at the site.

It comes after campaigners took direct action, including a sit-down protest, on Monday, after heavy machinery and staff moved on to the site, amid claims that checks for the presence of asbestos were taking place.

A spokesperson for the force said: “We continue to appeal to anyone with any information which could help us to get in touch. Call 101, quoting incident 761 of August 5 or message us using Live Chat on our website – http://www.staffordshire.police.uk. You can also report anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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In a letter to fire chiefs, ­West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: “Clearly there are major questions to be answered given how swiftly this fire ­happened following the sale of the pub to an unknown ­private developer.”

And Mr Street tweeted: “We believe great pubs have immense cultural and historical value and we should be ­taking steps to protect their heritage.”

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