A fire which gutted an abandoned boxing gym in Blackwood is being treated as suspicious.

The blaze in St Ivor's Road, in Pontllanfraith, was battled by the fire brigade until late at night after the emergency services were called to the scene at 8.43pm on Saturday.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said it was not known what had caused the blaze at the time of the call out. However, police believe the fire was started deliberately.

The scene of the blaze at an abandoned boxing gym in Sir Ivors Road, Pontllanfraith, near Blackwood

A spokeswoman from Gwent Police said: "Officers are appealing for information following a fire at the disused Youth Centre on Sir Ivor's Road, Pontllanffraith. Gwent Police and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, attended the building at approximately 8.45pm on Saturday.

"We are currently treating the fire as suspicious and a joint investigation with colleagues from South Wales Fire and Rescue service is ongoing.

"There have been reports of a group of people in the area before the emergency services arrived at the scene. We are appealing for witnesses who may have seen anybody in the vicinity of the building between 8pm and 8.45pm."

Witness Andrew Symons, 46, of Pontllanfraith, said the building was a landmark for people in the town.

The scene of the blaze at an abandoned boxing gym in Sir Ivors Road, Pontllanfraith, near Blackwood

He added: "I'm in my 40s now and used to go boxing there when I was 10. It's a shame because it has been closed for so long. It's pretty bad."

Contact the police on 101 quoting log number 540 of 13/7/19 if you have any information.