DOZENS of beach huts went up in flames as a fire spread along Frinton seafront.

Fire engines from Frinton, Weeley and Clacton were called to The Esplanade just before 2pm on Saturday.

When crews arrived the fire had already spread to 12 huts as strong winds of up to 50mph hit the coast.

A spokesman for Essex Fire and Rescue Service said: “Crews worked hard in very windy weather conditions to get the fire under control and stop it spreading to any more huts.”

The fire was put out by 3.40pm but the huts had been “completely destroyed”.

It is understood no one was injured in the blaze.

Peter Dias, chairman of Frinton Beach Hut Association, said he had been calling the owners of the huts affected to tell them the devastating news.

Mr Dias said the fire began when a man, who was renting out a hut, was trying to change the gas cannister.

The cannister then burst into flames.

“With the windy conditions we’ve been having, the fire spread to several more huts,” he said.

“The huts now are absolutely gutted.

“The man involved said he was shocked by what happened.

“I feel very sorry for the people who own those huts.

“One person I spoke to said he had just refurbished the roof and put on new paint in time for the grandchildren to come and visit.

“Now, it’s up in smoke.

“There are some people have had these huts for years and years and to see them go up like that is awful.

“Some people don’t have insurance on theirs.

“It’s not just the money but the sentimental value.

“People put mementos and other things in there and its like an extension of your house.”

MP Giles Watling said “some summers had been ruined” after hearing the news.

The strong winds saw Clacton Pier close its outdoor rides until 6pm.

The team blamed “windy and unseasonal weather” for the decision.

The Mersea Island Lions Club was also forced to cancel its summer show which was set to be held at the weekend due to the weather.

In a post on Facebook it said: “It’s not safe to have 50mph winds with gazebos and inflatables. Apologies from the Lions.”