TWO fires in 48 hours at a derelict Purfleet hotel are thought to have been started deliberately.

Firefighters were first called on Friday night to the blaze at the Lakeside Garden Inn on Stonehouse Lane at 9.27pm.

Seven fire engines were called to the scene to fight the fire and they remained there for over three hours.

On Sunday afternoon six fire crews were sent to the hotel again at 12.49pm after another fire broke out.

It is thought it was deliberately started and crews remained at the scene for about three hours.

Essex Police and Essex Fire and Rescue Service are working together to estabish a cause of the incident which is thought to be suspicious.

Helen Cook, spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “Police are liasing with firefighters in order to establish the cause of two fires in one building in Purfleet.

“The first blaze started on Friday, March 19 inside a derelict building on Stonehouse Lane. Officers attended and closed a section of the road for six hours to allow firefighters to tackle the blaze.

“The second fire broke out on Sunday and on this occasion the road was closed for four hours for the same reason."

Essex Fire and Rescue Service are leading in the investigation.