Blaze at Book Law Publications leaves family business in ruins
A FAMILY-run book shop in Carlton has been left in tatters after a suspected arson attack.
Tens of thousands of books are believed to have been ruined in the blaze at Book Law Publications, on Carlton Hill, which was started in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Yesterday, Catherine Mather, 44, and her 73 year-old father, David Allen, who started the business in 1988, were surveying the damage.
Walking around the soot-covered room, Mr Allen stood before shelves of damaged books, DVDs and videos.
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"You're not going to fix this in a day," he said.
Catherine said: "It's my dad's hobby – from years ago. We just don't get it.
"There are no words to say how we feel. We just don't understand why they've gone to this extent – to take items is one things but to set fire to it is something else. They've ruined the entire business."
A train enthusiast, Mr Allen started collecting and selling transport books in the 1980s.
He opened the shop in Carlton about 14 years ago. It sells everything from rare books on steam engines to Thomas the Tank Engine books for children.
A big basket of beanie-filled soft toys for children sat by the door, covered in soot and smelling of stale smoke.
Despite their obvious devastation, Mrs Mather and Mr Allen are determined, with the rest of their family, to keep the business going.
They have a warehouse with books that have been untouched and will continue with their mail orders – although they believe their laptop was stolen and fear they may have lost the details of many on their mail order list.
Fire crews from Carlton and Central stations went to the scene after the alarm was raised at about 6am on Thursday.
There is a large hole in the ceiling where, the family believe, intruders broke into the shop from the roof space.
They said that firefighters had told them they believed it was arson.
Mrs Mather said there had also been a suspected break-in last weekend because the back window was smashed.
A spokesman for Notts Fire and Rescue Service said: "We have completed our fire investigation and have passed results on to the police for their further consideration."
A Notts Police spokesman said: "We were alerted to it. We believe there may have been a burglary and we are investigating it to see what the circumstances are."
Mrs Mather said the support from the local community had been second to none.
"Everybody round here has been fantastic," she said.
"People have rallied around, making cups of tea for us. The support on the Hill is fantastic. It's a lovely community. Everybody looks out for everyone."
Over the road, Andy Needham, at Just Delicious bakery said his shop was broken into last week. He said he lost £50, four Bakewell tarts, six chocolate chip cookies, six Lucozade bottles, a tray of ginger teddy bears and nuts.
He said: "It's ridiculous. You're not going to get a fortune out of a shop like this – or a book shop. I think it's terrible that they've gone into a place and just torched it."