Eastbourne Pier
Debris falls as fire brigade officers damp down the remains of the arcade after a fire broke out on Eastbourne Pier Getty

Police have said they are treating the fire which ripped through the historic Eastbourne Pier in July as suspicious.

A fire broke out at the famous Victorian landmark on the coast of east Sussex on 30 July in what was described by local politicians as a "tragedy".

No one was injured during the fire and around 80 firefighters controlled the blaze after tackling it from the shoreline, the water and from underneath the Pier.

Sussex Police have now said they are treating the fire as suspicious and are appealing for anyone with photos or videos taken at the entrance or actually on the pier in the hours before the fire started to come forward.

Det Insp Mark O'Brien said: "As a result of our investigation we have received information to suggest that the fire may have been started by someone, either deliberately or accidentally, and our investigation is now focusing on that line of enquiry.

"A temporary scaffold platform has been erected adjacent to where the fire is thought to have broken out in order to enable scenes of crime officers and fire investigators safe access to the area."

Supt Laurence Taylor added: "The area around and under the pier is still very hazardous and there is a security team deployed to stop people putting themselves in danger. I would ask that you assist them by not trying to get too close and I would especially ask parents to make sure that their children are aware of the dangers."

Prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne announced that Eastbourne is set to receive £2m following the fire.

Cameron said he understood the fire would "hit the town hard".

Osborne added: "Eastbourne Pier is a much-loved local attraction and this fire is devastating news. I am therefore delighted to be able to provide financial support so we can minimise the effect on business and tourism."

Those who have images of the Pier before the fire broke out are asked to email police at pier.fire@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting Operation Barsham, or call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.