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Devastating arson attack severely damaged the 200-year-old All Saints Church

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A teenage boy has been arrested after a fire ripped through a 200-year-old Grade II listed church, causing more than £1million of damage. The 17-year-old, who has not been named, was arrested by officers investigating an attack on All Saints Church in Fleet, Hampshire, yesterday evening.

Locals said the church was apparently targeted by another arsonist two weeks ago after a bible was found in flames after being left near the font, but was quickly put out.

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Church officials said the roof was destroyed, along with many of the original stained glass windows. Police confirmed that the boy had been arrested, but said investigations are continuing, while a cordon remains in place around the building.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Guildford which governs Fleet, said: ‘The cost of the damage caused to the church is estimated to reach millions of pounds.’

Local residents described the church as the centre of their community and the Rev. Mark Hayton was today at the scene consolling distressed worshippers. The vicar said: ‘The building is re-buildable and with the help of the community the church will be returned to what it once was.

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‘It was a very severe fire but luckily no-one lost their life. Hopefully within one to two years we will be able to repair the church completely.’ Sergeant Rob Wallis from Hampshire Police said: ‘The fire has destroyed the church and has understandably caused concern within the local community.’

The fire officer in charge of the incident, Brian Rudman, said: ‘This was a significant fire that has seriously affected a beautiful and historic building. Crews have worked hard in arduous conditions to bring the fire under control.

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