Budleigh Salterton Scout leader appeals for help after arson

Published:
2:38 PM March 7, 2022



The leader of the 1st Budleigh Salterton Scout Group is appealing for help after their storage hut was destroyed in an apparent arson attack, with the loss of up to £60,000 worth of equipment.

The wooden building in Halse Hill Lane burned down on the night of Sunday, February 20.


The site of the scout hut after the fire

The site of the scout hut after the fire
– Credit: Alan Lowe

Inside it were four large marquees, all the Scouts’ tents and camping equipment, and furniture including an old piano.

Alan Lowe and his wife Ann have been Scout leaders in the town for 50 years, during which they had built up their stock of equipment and camping gear.


Archive photo of the 1st Budleigh Salterton scout hut

Archive photo of the 1st Budleigh Salterton scout hut
– Credit: Alan Lowe

He described the arson attack as ‘horrendous’ and ‘overwhelming’, adding that many of the firefighters who spent hours tackling the blaze were former Scouts.

The building was not insured, and now Alan and Ann are facing the enormous and costly talk of replacing it and its contents.

He said: “We’re hoping to rebuild, that’s our intention eventually.

“But it’s clearing the site as well, it’s going to take a lot of money to clear the site of all the debris, the corrugated iron and all the bits and pieces of marquees – we’re getting some quotes in the next couple of weeks to find out what it will cost.”

He is appealing for help from anyone who can assist with clearing the site, as well as donations of money or equipment to replace the hut and equipment.


Burned debris covers the site of the former Scouts' hut

Burned debris covers the site of the former Scouts’ hut
– Credit: Alan Lowe

Ann Lowe said: “We had only just started the Scouts again after the pandemic.

“We’ve been in shock – we couldn’t believe a thing like this could happen.”


The site of the burned-out Scouts' hut

The site of the burned-out Scouts’ hut
– Credit: Alan Lowe

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Police are investigating a suspicious fire which destroyed a Scout storage hut in Budleigh Salterton.

Fire crews alerted police at 11.55pm on Sunday 20 February. They service had been on scene fighting the fire since 10.20pm.

“The building in Halse Hill Lane, which had been used as an equipment store, was completely destroyed.

“Fire investigators believe the fire was deliberately set.

“Police are appealing for witnesses and asking for anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area around the building at the time of the incident to contact them.”

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