Homeless man’s shack torched as vandals attack old hospital

Burnt out: The scene of the arson attack in the early hours of Sunday. This was the makeshift home of a rough-sleeper.

AN arson attack destroyed the makeshift home of a man sleeping rough at Spalding’s vandal-wrecked Welland Hospital.

Firefighters were called at 12.30am on Sunday to tackle the blaze in a brick ‘hut’ where the man had lived for several months. No-one was hurt.

Sad sight: The former member of the Welland's admin staff looks at the wreckage of what was once a vibrant, happy hospital. Photo S090811-159TW

Police say five youths were seen in Roman Bank at the time the fire started.

A woman resident said the fire is just one of a catalogue of incidents that has seen the hospital building all but destroyed inside two years.

The woman, who does not wish to be named, worked there and says NHS bosses acted too late to save it.

The man in the shelter had put a settee in there and used to hang his washing outside.

“Whoever did this, it’s terrible,” she said.

The woman said youths hang about there and people have slept in the hospital building.

Flimsy gates put up at vehicle entrances were no deterrent – one was flattened for a short-cut through to Holbeach Road – and the gates are beside a wall easily stepped over.

Windows were not properly boarded up with secure metal shutters and vandals, once inside, throw equipment out the two-storey building’s windows.

NHS bosses yesterday revealed demolition work starts next month.

The former admin worker said: “At least that will stop people getting in there. That’s brilliant news. But are they going to clear up the site afterwards?”

Another resident wrote to MP John Hayes criticising health bosses for allowing the hospital to fall into ruins – saying it should have been protected so it realised maximum cash to be ploughed back into health services.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust replied to her yesterday, saying they had not expected it to be so heavily vandalised.

ULHT spokesman Clare White told us: “It is of immense concern that the site has been vandalised to such an extent and plans are under way to demolish the buildings with work expected to start next month. The trust did take steps to board up the site but could not predict the level of damage that would be caused.”

More from News