A MAN has been charged in connection with two fires in Harwich, one of which resulting in a historic boat being damaged. 

The town's historic LV18 light ship – featured in the pirate radio movie The Boat that Rocked - was damaged in a suspected arson attack on Friday.

The incident was one of three fire crews were called to in the town.

Nine fire crews and about 60 firefighters from across north and mid Essex attended the blazes in Harwich throughout the night.

The first callout of the night was to a vehicle fire in George Street, Harwich at 7.22pm, where it was reported two vans were on fire near the bus station and there was also a small fire inside a railway station building.

While crews were working to extinguish the fire in George Street, they were called at 8.57pm to reports of a boat on fire.

Upon arrival, crews reported a boat docked in the port was on fire and heavily smoke-logged.

Firefighters remained at the scene until 4am, working alongside coastguard and Port of Harwich colleagues, working to prevent the fire spreading throughout the boat and were able to contain it to the engine room.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Suspect - Christopher Parker, of Alexandra Street, Harwich, has been charged with four arson offencesSuspect - Christopher Parker, of Alexandra Street, Harwich, has been charged with four arson offences (Image: N/A)

The incidents were later handed over to the police due to suspected arson.

Although originally thought to be separate fires, through further investigation the police have since identified links between the incidents and are treating them as being connected.

A 33-year-old man from Harwich has been arrested in connection to both fires and has now been charged.

Christopher Parker, of Alexandra Street, has been charged with four counts of arson.

He has been remanded into custody and will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, February 6.