Ivy Leaf Club owner 'disappointed' as Sunderland fire halts sale of premises
The owner of derelict club is said to be ‘disappointed’ after the premises were targeted by arsonists less than 24 hours before they were due to be auctioned.
The former Ivy Leaf Club, in Suffolk Street, Hendon, Sunderland, suffered extensive smoke damage following Wednesday night’s attack.
Firefighters spent around half an hour tackling the blaze with emergency services remaining at the scene for more than two hours.
The building was due to be up for auction on Thursday through Pattinson Estate Agents with a starting bid price of £70,000.
A spokesperson for the business confirmed early on Thursday afternoon that the property would be withdrawn from the 5pm event at Newcastle’s Kingston Park Rugby Club.
She said: “We have had to withdraw the property from the auction because the police are involved and the property is now in a different condition to what it was when it was advertised for sale.
“We have spoken to the owner and he is disappointed, as we are because we thought that we would be able to sell it.”
The spokesperson said it might be possible to auction the property at a later date.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service have praised their firefighters for their “skilled and swift work” after four crews rushed to the scene at 6.25pm.
The fire brigade believe that the incident was started deliberately on the building’s second floor and Northumbria Police confirmed on Thursday morning that they have launched a criminal investigation.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said officers want the public’s help in identifying the culprits and added: “Shortly after 6pm on Wednesday, September 25, we received a report of a fire at the Ivy Leaf Club and Institute, in Suffolk Street, Hendon.
“Officers attended and a crew from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service were already in attendance.
“Inquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing but at this stage it is being treated as arson.
“Anyone with information, or anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously is asked to call police on 101 quoting log 900 250919.”