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Fire at former Crumlin Road courthouse ‘started deliberately’

Around 25 firefighters, three appliances and an aerial appliance tackled the blaze.

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A large fire at Belfast’s Crumlin Road Courthouse is believed to have been started deliberately (Liam McBurney/PA)

A large fire at Belfast’s Crumlin Road Courthouse is believed to have been started deliberately (Liam McBurney/PA)

A large fire at Belfast’s Crumlin Road Courthouse is believed to have been started deliberately (Liam McBurney/PA)

A large fire at Belfast’s former Crumlin Road courthouse is believed to have been started deliberately, the fire service said.

Around 25 firefighters, three appliances and an aerial appliance tackled the blaze.

It started in the early hours of Monday.

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Scene of the fire at Crumlin Road Courthouse in Belfast (Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service/PA)

Scene of the fire at Crumlin Road Courthouse in Belfast (Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service/PA)

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Scene of the fire at Crumlin Road Courthouse in Belfast (Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service/PA)

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said the cause is believed to be “deliberate ignition”.

The courthouse closed in 1998.

It was in use for around 150 years and connected via an underground passageway with Crumlin Road Gaol.

The grisly crimes of the Shankill Butchers, the “supergrass” trials, that of senior loyalist and peace process figure Gusty Spence and Shankill Road IRA bomber Sean Kelly were held there.

It has planning permission to be converted into a hotel and has been put up for sale by Liverpool developer Signature Living.

PA