A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of arson after the cottage next door to David Cameron's West Oxfordshire home went up in flames.

There was still the strong smelling of burning this morning in Dean, a hamlet near Chipping Norton, following the fire on Monday night.

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The property, which is just metres from the ex-Prime Minister's house, was completely destroyed by the blaze.

It is not known whether Mr Cameron's home was the actual target.

Firefighters from Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Banbury, Hook Norton, Witney, and Oxford Fire Station were all scrambled to the scene, arriving at 10.34pm.

Oxford Mail:

Crews stuggled for hours to put out the blaze, with Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service confirming crews did not leave the scene until 5.01pm on Tuesday.

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A Thames Valley Police spokesman said officers were also called to the fire just after 10.40pm and a 33-year-old man was arrested at the scene.

Oxford Mail:

He added: "Nobody was injured and a 33-year-old man from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of arson.

"He has subsequently been released under investigation, but detained under the Mental Health Act."

Speaking to the Sun, Mr Cameron, who offered firefighters cups of tea yesterday, said: “It’s terrible. They’ve had a fire engine here for the last couple of days.

“I’ve heard a man has been arrested but I can’t say anything.

“I was not home on Monday night when it happened, I came down as soon as I heard."

Oxford Mail:

He added: “There was a woman who lived there but she moved out about a year ago, a lovely old lady.

“Thankfully, the homeowner is living with relatives but she is very shaken up.

“It is a huge relief that it was empty and no one was hurt.

“This is now being pursued by the police and so it wouldn’t be right to comment any further.”

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The Camerons moved in to a cottage in Dean 19 years ago and since then have gained planning permission for various improvements to the home, including a two-storey extension, a single-storey extension, a boot room and a garage block.

Oxford Mail:

Neighbours expressed their frustration over the latest work a year ago, claiming the works had caused a ‘mess’ outside the house, with vehicles ‘going up and down’.

The fire will raise questions about security for Mr Cameron, 53, who as a former Prime Minister has lifelong personal protection from the Specialist Protection Branch of the Metropolitan Police Service Protection Command.