Worried neighbours of derelict Brentford pub and crime hotspot the New England have had their worst fears confirmed following a fire last week.
The old New England Pub, on the corner of York Road and Brook Lane North, was listed as a 'high priority area' by police after being blamed for attracting criminals responsible for a spate of car fires last year.
Residents believe that as long as the building is left to fall into disrepair crime and anti-social behaviour in the area will only get worse.
And their predictions came true last Wednesday evening when a neighbour saw smoke billowing out of the building's chimney.
York Road resident Nicky Cross, 54, told the Chronicle: "We could hear banging and crashing and weren't sure what was going on as the fire brigade and police weren't very communicative.
"They seemed to think at the time that someone had broken in and lit a fire to keep warm, but we aren't really sure of the motives.
"These are the sort of things that are going to keep happening, the building is still vacant and nothing is being done with it.
"It's worrying that people are breaking in and starting fires."
The Chronicle highlighted residents' concerns last year as they voiced fears the building was a magnet for criminals responsible for car fires, fly tipping, graffiti and arsonists.
The pub is filled with rubbish and Nicky warned in September that if a fire caught hold it could be 'extremely dangerous' for local residents.
A police spokesman this week said: "London Fire Brigade called us to the venue in case there was squatters on the premises, they put the fire out and searched all the floors but found no one."
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