Arsonists suspected of setting fire to West Boldon Lodge's Hobbit House
A Hobbit House created as part of an environmental education centre has been burned down in a suspected arson attack.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service was called to West Boldon Lodge, off Newcastle Road, after the structure caught light.
A crew from South Shields Community Fire Station was sent to the scene to put out the blaze, which tore through the roof of the 4m x 4m building.
An investigation is now underway into the incident, with an appeal for anyone with information to get in touch with the FireStoppers line.
A spokesperson for the service said: “This great little hobbit house - built by a community group in West Boldon - was ruined by fire yesterday.
“It's suspected that the fire was started deliberately.”
The team of officers was sent to the site at 10.25am yesterday, Monday, September 30, with the incident over in just a few minutes.
The site is part of the National Grid Environmental Education Centre Network and is managed by Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle.
It features a purpose-built environmental education centre and runs education programmes for schools, adults and families, as well as community events, with volunteers helping to make its sessions possible.
It also has its own local wildlife site and is managed using traditional conservation techniques.
Anyone with any information about the fire is asked to contact FireStoppers on 0800 169 5558 or visit www.firestoppersreport.co.uk and information can be passed on anonymously.