Page last updated at 17:12 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 18:12 UK

Bird with cigarette 'caused fire'

Fire at Crescent Stores
It is estimated the fire damage will cost about 250,000 to repair

A fire which caused £250,000 of damage to a Lincolnshire shop was caused by a bird bringing a lit cigarette back to its nest, investigators have concluded.

On 9 March, firefighters were called to tackle a blaze in the roof of Crescent Stores in Leasingham.

After extensive investigations loss adjusters told shop owner Paul Sheriff a bird carrying the cigarette was the only possible explanation for the fire.

Mr Sheriff has now introduced a plastic roof system to prevent future fires.

'Horrendous mess'

"The roof disappeared and the upstairs flat had gone," said Mr Sheriff. "I'd just decorated the flat and everything was fine.

"The shop was a total mess. All the suspended ceilings came down, all the electrics were down, it was a horrendous mess."

Initial investigations found no gas or electrical faults but 35 cigarette ends were eventually found in various sparrow nests in the eaves of the roof.

The shop has reopened and repairs to the upstairs flat are ongoing.

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