THIS is the scene of devastation following a major fire that destroyed a former school.

Bulldozers were brought in yesterday to demolish the few parts of Grays School in Newhaven left standing to make the area safe.

Two girls and a boy, all aged 13 and from the area, were arrested and quizzed by Sussex Police on suspicion of arson.

The fire broke out shortly before 11am on Monday and at its height more than 40 firefighters were drafted in from across East Sussex to help battle the flames.

Thick black smoke was seen from miles away and crews spent most of the day at the scene.

Residents were advised to keep their doors and windows closed while emergency services dealt with the incident. However there were no reports of anyone being injured.

The school closed in 2014 and has been empty ever since.

People living nearby said the incident did not come as a surprise as it was well known as a popular place for young people to gather.

Newhaven town mayor June Dyer, who lives close to the Western Road school, also saw the fire.

She said: “There was loads of smoke and when I got closer I could see the flames.

“The site has been derelict for a few years and boarded up to stop people trying to get in.

“However children are regularly seen there and they keep pulling the hoarding down.

“It looks like there was not enough security there because they kept on coming back.

“We knew the building was going to be demolished anyway but it is very sad to see it go like this.

“My children went to school there.”

Other residents reported seeing children on the roof of the building in the past.

The school is currently owned by East Sussex County Council.

However, it is under contract with a developer for the site.

Lewes District Council has already given planning permission for new homes to be built there.

As well as demolishing the remaining parts of the building, the county council is also putting up fencing around the area.

Warning notices are being put up urging people to keep away.

The council says appropriate security measures are in place in all of its vacant buildings.

These are also regularly reviewed.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Sussex Police.