AN URGENT appeal for witnesses have been made after a fire destroyed a plane.

The plane - an HS 748 airliner - was being stored in the private grounds of a hotel in Aviation Way in Rochford, near to Southend Airport.

According to witnesses, the plane was one of two former Royal Australian Air Force Hawker Siddeley HS 748 aircraft.

The fire happened on January 28, and saw five fire engines attend to control the blaze. Police now want any witnesses to come forward after there were reports of anti-social behaviour in the area prior to the fire starting.

A spokesman for Essex Police's Rochford team said: "Officers supported by Essex County Fire & Rescue were deployed around 7.45pm, after reports were received of a blaze within a stored aeroplane shell.

"This was located on Aviation Way, but not linked to the airport, and the fire described as deliberately caused, was quickly contained and extinguished.

"Due to the event and other reported matters of anti-social behaviour in the proximity, a policing operation has been set up to prevent and deter any further issues, whilst an investigation continues.

"If you have any information, please contact PC 72007 PORTER, via email or mobile: 077713 960614."

Quote incident number 1123 of January 28, or investigation 42/15529/21 when providing any information.

Alternatively, information can also be given to independent charity Crimestoppers completely anonymously via or on 0800 555 111.