Investigation reveals blaze was most likely started by an industrial vacuum cleaner which had been left on over the weekend

A vacuum cleaner was the most likely cause of the fire which devastated the hull of the Cutty Sark last year.

A joint investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service, London Fire Brigade and Forensic Science Services working with electrical examination experts Dr Burgoyne's & Partners has concluded that the most likely cause was the failure of an industrial vacuum cleaner that had inadvertently been left switched on for 48 hours before the fire started on Monday 21 May 2007.

Physical evidence and CCTV footage of the fire in the 95m ship show that it probably started towards the stern on the lower deck after the failure of a motor inside the industrial vacuum cleaner that was being used to remove waste from the ship which was undergoing a £25million renovation.

Investigations suggest that the equipment had been left running throughout the weekend before the fire broke out the following Monday. The report revealed that there was no evidence that the ship was subject to arson nor that it was caused by hot work that was being carried out as part of the renovation work, concluding that it was started accidentally.