ARSONISTS are believed to be behind a blaze at a Southampton pub early this morning.

Firefighters were called to the now derelict Park Hotel Pub, in Shirley Road, Freemantle at 4.30am.

Crews from both Redbridge and St Mary’s took two hours to fight the fire.

They had to use specialist cutting equipment to get into the boarded-up pub.

They were called by a member of the public.

Smoke was seen drifting across Shirley High Street in the early hours.

It is thought an arsonist broke into the pub to set fire to the ground floor.

Today fire investigators and police will carry out enquiries at the scene.

The pub has been closed for redevelopment.

Anyone with information should contact Hampshire police on 101.