A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a body was discovered in a burning flat by firefighters.

Neighbours raised the alarm after smelling smoke in the corridor at a block of flats.

Four fire crews rushed to the third-floor property at 6.25am on Boxing Day.

However when they broke down the door as well as the flames, they found a body with signs of assault and called police.

The fire was put out shortly before 8am and a murder investigation was launched.

A few hours later a 47-year-old man was arrested.

A spokesman for the fire service said: “Crews were called to a flat in Clacton after reports of the smell of smoke in a communal corridor.

“On arrival firefighters reported that there was a fire contained to the living room of a third-floor flat.

“Firefighters extinguished the fire by 7.48am.

“Sadly, one man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“An investigation to determine the cause of the fire will take place.”

Det Chief Insp Martin Passmore, from Essex Police, said: “Our investigation is still in its early days but we are looking at the possibility this was a targeted attack.

“I need anyone who was in the Station Road area between 6am and 7am and anyone going into or leaving the building to come forward.”

At 4.15pm police confirmed an arrest had been made.

A spokesman for the force said: “We have arrested a man on suspicion of murder following the death of a man in a flat in Clacton.

“We were called by the fire service to a fire at an address in Station Road shortly before 7am.

“Emergency services had been called to the fire and when they entered the address, they found a man who had been assaulted.

“Sadly, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

“A 47-year-old man was arrested shortly before 3.45pm today nearby on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody.

“If you saw or heard anything, have any CCTV or dash cam footage, or have any other information please call us 101 quoting incident 160 or email scd.appeals.essex@essex.pnn.police.uk or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”