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Man is charged over Pirates fire

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: January 09, 2014

  • Cornish-Pirates marquee burned down.

  • The scene of devastation at Mennaye Field: the marquee and a lorry were both destroyed in the blaze, which was tackled by around 30 firefighters.

  • Cornish-Pirates marquee burned down, fire tenders pictured in the car park at the entrance to the ground.

  • Cornish-Pirates marquee burned down.

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A 22-YEAR-OLD man has appeared in court charged with arson after the £60,000 hospitality marquee at the Pirates' rugby ground went up in flames.

About 30 firefighters from Penzance, St Just and St Ives tackled the blaze shortly before 8pm on Friday at the Mennaye Field. Police also attended.

The crews managed to contain the fire to the 40m x 20m permanent marquee, which was gutted, although it also spread to a small lorry which was burnt out.

No one was injured and the there was no damage to the main stand but police confirmed a man was brought to safety from the temporary toilets by the squash courts.

Watch manager Ian Neal said it was the biggest blaze Penzance firefighters have faced in the past year.

"Immediately, because of the threat to the squash courts and the rugby club itself, I called for four appliances to deal with the situation," he said.

"Our main concern was that because of the strong winds we needed to prevent the fire blowing across to the squash courts and the residential properties on the other side of the fence."

The crews were on the scene for about three hours.

Cornish Pirates spokesman Phil Westren said: "This obviously will be inconvenient for the next few home games.

"The marquee isn't actually owned by the Pirates and it's deeply upsetting for those involved and terribly frustrating, but everybody will pick themselves up and try and move on."

The Pirates' next home game at Mennaye Field is against Ayr in the British and Irish Cup on Sunday at 3pm.

Anyone with any information about the incident is being asked to call the police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Ross James Vicars, 22, of Mousehole, entered no plea at Truro Magistrates' Court to a charge of causing arson with intent to endanger life on January 3, involving alleged fire damage to an event marquee valued at £60,000 belonging to Peter Timothy Bawden.

He was remanded in custody to Truro Crown Court on January 28.

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