PERSISTENT trespassing at a derelict eyesore building could lead to another devastating fire, a worried neighbour has warned.

Youngsters have been spotted going in and out of the Sergeants’ Mess in Le Cateu Road, Colchester, for several months.

The Grade II listed building was gutted by a huge fire in 2014 leaving a charred shell.

It has sat empty ever since despite a scheme to build eight houses on the site being approved by Colchester Council a year ago.


Developers Taylor Wimpey, who owned the building, had carried out repairs including constructing a new roof.

A neighbour said people living nearby were being disturbed by the constant intrusion into the building.

She said: “I moved into a rental property in January and it is something which has just got progressively worse.

“It has got particularly bad during the summer holidays.

“Firstly they were throwing rocks at the the hoardings and parts of the windows.

“Then somehow they have found a way to get in there.

“The police have been in there as well to try and get them out.

“There seems to be more and more of them - on Monday there were at least ten.

“You could hear them inside banging and smashing glass - it happened in broad daylight.

“I myself have contacted the police on a few occasions. They have mentioned they have had others call to complain yet nothing seems to being done about it.”


The resident said she feared those inside could be at risk if something went wrong.

“My take on it is if children want to be in there messing around and doing stupid things than that is up to them,” she said.

“But they could end up being a danger to themselves.

“There was that fire a few years ago and if there was another one it would be horrendous.”

The former Sergeants Mess is a prized building with the starting gates of Britain’s only Roman chariot arena sited under its garden.