COUNTY NEWS: Suspected drug dealer flees flaming house on pink ladies’ bicycle

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POLICE are seeking a suspected cannabis grower after 45 plants were found when firefighters responded to a house fire today (May 19).

Emergency services were called to Glenavon Mews, off Clun Road, Littlehampton, at 4.40am after reports of a fire in a semi-detached, two-storey house.

“Before emergency services arrived a man had been seen to climb down from a bedroom window at the house. He stole from a bystander a pink ladies’ cycle with carrier bags on the seat and cycled off,” said a police spokesman.

He said around 45 cannabis plants in various stages of growth were found in the house, confirming speculation earlier today that the house appeared to be being used as a cannabis factory.

“There was nobody in the house when emergency services arrived,” he said. “The fire was confined to a bedroom and the cause is currently being treated as suspicious. Police scenes of crime officers and fire investigators are carrying out enquiries.”

Fire investigation officers were setting to work to piece together how the house caught fire.

A spokeswoman from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said she could not say whether the fire started accidentally or not.

“In terms of cause that’s not been established yet,” she said. “Nothing has been ruled out.”

Firefighters left the scene at 6.35am today, with a fire investigation officer due to return at 9am to carry out the investigation in daylight.

The fire was in Glenavon Mews, just off Clun Road, in a two-storey semi-detached house on the first floor. Firefighters were called around 4.30am.

Any drugs inside are likely to have been damaged, with the fire brigade saying the room where the fire occurred was ‘90-per-cent destroyed by fire’.

Fire engines from Worthing, Littlehampton and Arundel were all at the scene to extinguish the fire.

Anyone who has seen a man riding such a cycle locally, or has seen the cycle abandoned, was asked to contact police via 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101, quoting serial 0100 of May 19.