Man charged following Penzance church fires

A man has been charged with causing two fires at St Mary the Virgin Church in Chapel Street, Penzance on 24 November and 3 December.

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Paul Ratcliffe, aged 45, from Morrab Place, Penzance, has been charged with two counts of arson. Police are treating this as a hate crime as the premises appear to have been targeted on a religious basis.

Cornwall Fire Service were called just before 11.30pm on Monday 3 December following reports of a fire at Penzance’s largest Anglican church.

They extinguished a fire that is believed to have been started deliberately and which and caused substantial damage to a Church door.

It is estimated that the damage to door is in the region of £10,000.

Ratcliffe was arrested on suspicion of arson yesterday and was taken in for questioning about this offence and a similar offence at the same location on Saturday 24 November.

He has been released on police bail and is due to appear before Truro Magistrates’ Court on Monday 7 January 2019.

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