Police are treating the fire at the famous Crooked House pub as arson.
The well-known 18th-century pub in Himley, Dudley, was extensively damaged by a fire on Saturday evening (5 August) before footage emerged on social media of what remained of the building being demolished by a mechanical digger.
South Staffordshire Council, meanwhile, is investigating potential breaches of the law over the total demolition of the pub.
And in a recent update on Wednesday evening (9 August), Staffordshire police said: “Our investigation into a fire at the Crooked House on Himley Road last Saturday continues as we try to understand the circumstances, which we are now treating as arson.
“This fire has shocked and upset so many given the, albeit not listed, cultural importance and heritage of the building.
“This is not lost on us and a robust investigation using all available information and forensic opportunities is being carried out.”
Leader of the council Roger Lees said: "At no point did the council agree the demolition of the whole structure nor was this deemed necessary.
"This council finds the manner in which the situation was managed following the fire completely unacceptable and contrary to instructions provided by our officers.
"As such, we are currently investigating potential breaches of both the Town and Country Planning Act and the Buildings Act.
"We are also liaising with many other relevant statutory bodies, including Historic England, the police and fire services, amongst others.
"These bodies will take the lead on investigating the issues surrounding the fire, safety of the unauthorised demolition and securing the ongoing safety of the site.
"Our own investigation is in its early stages and whilst it continues at pace, we ask for time to consider the facts thoroughly to ensure any future actions are meaningful and proportionate."
Paul Turner, whose online Save The Crooked House petition has attracted more than 12,000 signatures, said: “First of all there was the fire. I was absolutely devastated.
“We had all sorts of ideas about what we were going to try and do to make sure the place stayed as a pub.
“The next thing is it was burning down. Two days later we suddenly found out it had been flattened as well.
“We thought the shell looked reasonably secure from what we could see.”
Featured Image Credit: TripAdvisor/Facebook/theonlywayisburnley
Topics: UK News