Appeal for help to catch blaze idiots

MARTLESHAM HEATH: Help us catch the fire starters.

That was the message from police and firefighters today after an arson investigation was launched into a series of suspicious blazes on heath land.

Safety advice has been issues as angry residents point the finger at youngsters following a string of blazes in the area off Dobbs Lane and Eagle Way in recent days.

On Tuesday alone, four separate fires were tackled in the space of 20 minutes by ten crews from across Suffolk.

Police officers are appealing for help to track down two youths seen leaving the scene of one of the fires, which was reported by around 50 people at around 5pm after plumes of black smoke were spotted billowing from the heath.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service community safety manager, Jon Illingworth, urged those involved to think of the consequences.

He said fire crews tackling deliberate blazes would be prevented from attending other incidents across the county as quickly, threatening the lives of innocent people.

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“An important thing to remember is the knock-on effect of these deliberate fires,” he said.

“The message to people deliberately starting fires is ‘if you do this we could be prevented from reaching another serious incident involving a relative of yours’.”

One concerned resident, who witnessed Tuesday’s fire but asked not to be named, said: “I believe that it is youngsters up to no good. They have no consideration for the wildlife or beauty of the area.

“There are few delightful woods around and we could do without senseless idiots setting then on fire.

“It is a wonderful place to live and I hope that the police catch them soon – and throw the book at them.”

Mr Illingworth also urged people visiting the heath to take every precaution to avoid dropping rubbish and cigarettes which can cause fires, and to avoid using barbecues in the area.

A Suffolk police spokeswoman said officers are keen to speak to the two youths, believed to be around 16-years-old, seen in the area at the time of the fire. One was seen riding away on a red and white scooter and the other was riding a push bike.

Witnesses should contact the Kesgrave and District Safer Neighbourhood Team on 01473 613500.

n Are fire bugs blighting your community? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail