Phone box ‘library’ is destroyed by arsonists

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Furious residents in Burrough Green have slammed “mindless” arsonists who set fire to the village book exchange, leaving a blackened mess.

A red telephone box, transformed into a community book exchange in 2010, was targeted by vandals who set it on fire on Sunday.

Fire crews from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were called to Bradley Road shortly after 11pm to reports of a blaze in a disused telephone box.

One crew from Newmarket had the fire under control by 11.30pm, but the telephone box was badly damaged and the books kept inside were destroyed.

Cambridgeshire Police were alerted to the incident by the fire service at about 11.40pm on Sunday.

A spokesman said the incident was being treated as arson.

Jo Batting, chairman of Burrough Green Parish Council, said the incident was a “mindless” attack that had ruined a much-loved facility in the village.

“If anyone had enjoyed a good book, they could drop it off at the book exchange and pick up another,” she said.

“It was in a very central point in the village and something that everybody loved. There were children’s books as well so it was used by everybody. People used to stop as they drove through the village to use it, I even saw people there on the day that this happened.”

She added: “I can’t believe anybody would have done this. It wasn’t going to benefit anyone. It just seems mindless.

“The telephone box has been reduced to a mess. All the books are destroyed. The glass in both side panels was blasted out of the frames by the fire.”

Cllr Batting said villagers were determined to repair the damage and restore the facility to its former glory.

“I have been speaking to several villagers and we are hoping we can get it repaired and renovated. We don’t want to give in to vandalism.”

The telephone box was converted as part of BT’s Adopt a Kiosk campaign to preserve red telephone boxes across the country by giving them a new lease of life.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting incident number 585, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.