A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a man and woman were taken to hospital in a critical condition after a fire.

Police are appealing for witnesses after the incident, in Boyce Green, Benfleet, at around 10.50am today.

Police received reports of a disturbance with a man, aged in his 50s, and a woman, aged in her 70s, suffering serious burns.

Both have been airlifted to hospital and remain in a critical condition.

The man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder prior to being taken to hospital.

Senior Investigating officer DCI Daniel Stoten, of Kent and Essex’s Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Investigators are carrying out enquiries to establish the circumstances around this incident, one of which includes establishing whether this was a deliberate act.

“This appears to be an isolated incident and I do not believe that there is a wider risk to the general public.

“We understand there were a number of people in the area, including golfers at a nearby golf club. If you were in Boyce Green or on the golf club between 6am and 11am, then we would like to hear from you.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Essex Police on 101 quoting incident 311 of 13/03 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.