UPDATE - Cannabis discovered after Harrogate gym blaze

The scene of the fire off Skipton Road. Picture by Johno Ellison. (S)

The scene of the fire off Skipton Road. Picture by Johno Ellison. (S)

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A secret room containing cannabis plants has been discovered by police after a fire broke out at a Harrogate boxing gym.

Firefighters from across the region were called to Back Grange Avenue just before midnight last night after a blaze broke out at the Old Stables Boxing Gym.

The scene of the fire off Skipton Road. Picture by Johno Ellison. (S)

The scene of the fire off Skipton Road. Picture by Johno Ellison. (S)

It now emerges that police officers, called to the scene shortly afterwards, uncovered “a number” of cannabis plants hidden in a purpose-built room.

A 40-year-old local man has been arrested on suspicion of growing a Class B drug, a spokesman for North Yorkshire Police confirmed. He remained in police custody at the time of going to print.

Firefighters, first called to the scene off Skipton Road at 11.54pm, had to break down the door to get into the gym as flames spread to the roof of the single-storey building.

Neighbour Johno Ellison witnessed what happened.

Picture by Steve Ball. (S)

Picture by Steve Ball. (S)

“I was just falling asleep at almost midnight and thought I smelled burning and heard what sounded like fireworks,” said Mr Ellison. “I looked out of the window and saw smoke everywhere and a big red glow from behind the building.”

Mr Ellison called the fire brigade and was told they were already on their way.

“They got it under control pretty quickly although they had some trouble opening the main door,” he said. “They had to get cutting equipment out to get the door off in the end.”

A spokesman for the fire service said crews from Harrogate, Knaresborough and Boroughbridge had been called on to help battle the blaze.

The blaze. Picture by Matt Hall. (S)

The blaze. Picture by Matt Hall. (S)

One room was fire damaged, along with the roof, they said, while the rest of the building was smoke damaged.

Fire officers initially said the cause of the blaze was believed to have been an electrical fault, but police have confirmed they are now investigating further.

Pictures submitted by Johno Ellison, Steve Ball and Matt Hall.