REGULARS were deprived of their luncthime pints yesterday when the chimney of the Five Bells pub in Royal Wootton Bassett caught fire.

Fightfighters were called to the pub in Wood Street after smoke began to pour out of the chimney in the thatched roof at 12.30pm.

Simon Pearce, the incident commander at the scene, said: “When we arrived there was quite a large volume of smoke and burning, which burned the top of the thatch.

“It was a worry to us because it’s a thatched roof and if it had got inside the thatch then it would have burnt all the way through the roof.

“Nobody was hurt or injured in the incident. We evacuated the building and we have been clearing out the chimney.”

Two pumps from Royal Wootton Bassett and Westlea and an aerial appliance from Swindon attended the scene, which was made safe a short time later.

Police cordoned off the Ropeyard and Church Street, while firefighters dealt with the incident.

Regular Tony Hearne was on his way to the pub when he heard about the fire.

He said: “It’s a shame. I said to them a while ago that they needed to clean it because there was quite a lot of smoke but they have cleaned it since then.

“I was just about to go in there when I found out about the fire.

“It’s the best pub in Bassett, and with all the other ones closing too it makes you worry.”

The pub re-opened shortly after firefighters left the scene.