Police are investigating after a suspicious fire at a pub near Newcastle overnight.
About 4.40am (Friday 18 June 2021), emergency services were called to a hotel on Elder Street, Lambton, after reports part of the building was alight.
A neighbour extinguished the blaze prior to Fire and Rescue NSW arrival, with minimal damage sustained to the building.
Fire crews attended a short time later to fully extinguish the flames, while police extinguished a small grass fire a short distance away in Lambton Park.
Officers from Newcastle City Police District have established a crime scene, which is in the process of being forensically examined.
Police have been told three men were seen running from the scene a short time after.
The blaze is being treated as suspicious and police are urging anyone who may have seen or heard anything in the nearby vicinity between 4.30am and 4.45am to contact Newcastle Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.