Victorian British seaside pier damaged by fire

London - A Victorian-era seaside pier at Eastbourne on Britain's south coast was badly damaged when fire broke out in an amusement arcade on Wednesday.

Flames could be seen leaping from the roof of the two-storey structure and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said a large plume of smoke was rising above the town.

The blaze started around 15:00 in the arcade, some 50 metres from the shoreline, it added in a statement.

Police and the coastguard were at the scene but there were no early reports of any injuries.

Eastbourne's 300-metre long pier was opened in 1870 and has been hit by fire before, in 1970.

Several other British piers have also been damaged by fire: Southend pier on the east coast has been ablaze four times; Hastings pier, near Eastbourne, was badly damaged in 2010 and Brighton's West Pier was destroyed in a blaze in 2003.