Arsonists who destroyed the Indian Garden restaurant at Fordham near Soham may have been seen on CCTV.
Restaurant boss Kay Shah has confirmed that a neighbour may have spotted up to three people breaking in prior to the building being set alight.
“There were two to three people who broke in and were wandering around,” he said.
“They were captured on a neighbour’s CCTV, and we are still awaiting further information on this. It is still under investigation.”
Confirmation of the blaze being deliberate came this afternoon in a statement from Cambridgeshire police 48 hours after last week’s fire.
A spokesperson confirmed detectives are now probing “an arson attack on a restaurant in Fordham”.
Police said they received a call reporting a fire at the Indian Garden restaurant, in Church Street, at 5am on Monday, August 14.
“The fire caused a power cut on Church Street Road, and led to the restaurant being structurally unsafe, with the downstairs being destroyed,” said the spokesperson.
PC Lucy Holderness, who is investigating, said: “We are appealing for witnesses or anyone with CCTV in the area who could assist our investigation to get in touch as soon as possible”.
Anyone with information should report it to police online or call 101 and quote the reference number 35/60922/23
Mr Shah has hit out at “horrible and negative people” for speculating about the cause of the blaze which ripped through his Fordham premises.
He opened the Indian Garden 2 at Church Street, Fordham, two years ago to accompany his long-established Indian Garden 1 at Littleport.
But last Monday two people were treated for smoke inhalation after a fire left his Fordham restaurant – a former pub – “very badly damaged and unsafe”.
The fire attracted hostile comments on social media which prompted Mr Shah to respond.
Mr Shah accused some on Facebook of being “horrible and negative people” for speculating about the cause of the fire.
“So many negative comments,” he said. “Really sad how people are these days.”
He added that “we are all safe and sound” and promised updates on the future for his takeaway and restaurant in Fordham.
Mr Shah also commented after some made reference to planning consent – won on appeal – for two houses within the car park of the restaurant.
“We are just tenants,” he said. “The houses have nothing to do with us.”
The Crown Inn was a public house until recently but planning permission was granted for a change of use to a restaurant in February 2021.
The Fordham restaurant is in the same ownership as Indian Garden at Littleport which opened in 1997.
The building is Grade II listed and within a conservation area. Parts of it date back to the late 16th century.
Fordham parish council issued a statement saying that “we have been very saddened by the news of the fire at The Crown public house.
“We are asking residents to stay away from the area, this is extremely dangerous and unstable.”
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