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Police linking two hospital fires

Detectives investigating fires at two hospitals are investigating whether an arsonist started both blazes after confirming they are linking the offences.

Officers attended the Kent and Canterbury Hospital with Kent Fire and Rescue Service shortly before 3pm on Thursday to investigate the cause of a fire reported at the site.

Police are also investigating a report of theft from the hospital restaurant whilst the fire was being dealt with.

The offence is being linked to a fire at Medway Maritime Hospital. No-one was injured in either of the fires.

Chief Inspector Iain Mackenzie, of Kent Police said: "Following our initial assessment we are satisfied that the two fires are connected.

"An investigation team is following up a number of lines of inquiry and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues at Kent Fire and Rescue Service and the National Health Service to identify whoever is responsible."

The fire at the the Kent and Canterbury Hospital is similar to a fire at Crawley Hospital in West Sussex on Tuesday. Patients and visitors were evacuated from the hospital following a fire in a sixth-floor store cupboard on Comet ward. No-one was injured but a small amount of cash was stolen from a till in the hospital restaurant during the fire, Sussex Police said.

Detectives are also examining whether the blaze, which took place at 1.30pm, is linked to three other fires in Brighton, East Sussex.

The first suspected arson in the city happened at the Royal Albion Hotel in Old Steine at 2pm on Sunday and the second fire at 12 noon the following day at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. The third blaze broke out at the Sea Life Centre in the city, also on Monday, at about 4.30pm.

Police said the fires were all small but when staff returned to the buildings, cash had vanished from tills.

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