Durham City Bowling Club burns down in suspected arson

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The 140-year-old home of Durham City Bowling Club was the site of a suspected arson attack on Monday 19th February, causing potentially irreparable damage to one of the club’s two buildings. 

This is the latest in a series of anti-social behaviour incidents in the Racecourse and Elvet areas, which has become a popular site for youths to congregate in the evenings. It comes just three days after emergency services were called to the Bowling Club to take a girl who had taken MDMA to hospital.  

These incidents have prompted an increased police presence in the neighbourhood, with local high-visibility patrols currently being undertaken alongside County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service as part of ‘Operation Trailblazer’, a scheme introduced in 2023 to tackle anti-social behaviour.  A statement by Durham City Police on social media said: “The area has recently become blighted by acts of vandalism, culminating in a significant fire in a building adjacent to the bowling green on Monday evening.

“The hybrid team have been speaking to local people and residents as part of the investigation into the damage on Monday night, and also chatting to children in the area around the dangers of causing damage and setting fires, which could ultimately lead to criminal convictions.

“The area has recently become blighted by acts of vandalism”

Durham city police

“There have already been a number of names provided of those youths who were present when the fire was started on Monday, and we would ask those who were present to come forward and make contact, with a parent or guardian, before we come to you.”

Durham City Bowling Club was founded in 1889 and has been a home for lawn bowls in the city ever since. The damage caused by the fire, which all but destroyed a building used to store the club’s equipment, is likely to be too costly to repair, forcing the club to find a new storage solution.

Local residents took to social media to express their dismay. In a statement on social media, Durham Parkrun said: “[Durham City Bowling Club] is right next to where we finish.

“I’d love someone to explain to us why anyone would do this to a 140 year old building.”

As of 5th March 2024, no arrests have been made in connection to the fire.

Anyone with any information related to the fire is advised to contact Durham Constabulary either by calling the non-emergency police contact number 101 or by emailing david.clarke@durham.police.uk .

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