A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and firearms offences after a car crashed into a historic village pub.

Emergency services were called to The Alma, in School Road, Copford, at 8.25am on Tuesday.

A car had collided with the front wall of the pub causing damage to the inside and outside of the property.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “A man has been arrested following an incident in Copford where a car has been in collision with a pub.

“It happened at The Alma in Copford Green at around 8.25am on Tuesday.

“The driver of the car, a 57 year-old man from Colchester, has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and possession of firearms offences.

“He is currently in custody.”

Gazette: Essex Police remained at the scene for some time after the incidentEssex Police remained at the scene for some time after the incident

The Alma, which is owned by chain Greene King, is more than 160 years old and has recently had a refurb before being taken on by new landlords.

Work was underway straight after the incident to repair the damage, at least temporarily, however it was unclear whether the business would be able to reopen straight away.

Steve Braund, vice chairman of Copford and Easthorpe Parish Council, said he was shocked to hear what had happened.

“It could not have happened at a worse time of year for the pub,” he said.

“The pub is the centre of the village and it wouldn’t be good for it to be shut over the festive period, particularly on Christmas Day.”

Villagers flocked to the pub after the incident to help the owners with the clear up operation.

PC Tom Rees said on Twitter: “Fantastic response from the community in Copford this morning whilst we dealt with an incident at The Alma Pub.

“It’s always lovely to see community spirit, especially at this time of year, thank you and Merry Christmas.”

Greene King said it was aware of the incident and was helping Essex Police with their investigations.

The landlord of the pub did not wish to comment further.

Essex Police would like to hear from anyone who saw anything, or has CCTV or dash cam footage from the scene around the time of the incident.

Contact 101 quoting incident 204 of 24 December or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.