Arson attacks endanger conservation
BLACKENED by fire, the scorched embankment may not look much – but it represents an act of vandalism that has set conservation work back ten years.Fresh appeals were today made to help catch the fire-raisers, amid fears that their antics may mean delays in fire crews reaching a more serious blaze.
BLACKENED by fire, the scorched embankment may not look much – but it represents an act of vandalism that has set conservation work back ten years.
Fresh appeals were today made to help catch the fire-raisers, amid fears that their antics may mean delays in fire crews reaching a more serious blaze.
Police and firefighters say the area of dead grass and young trees alongside the A14 is one of a number of fires which have been set around Felixstowe in a spate of incidents on three separate nights.
Their fear is not only that one of the small fires could get out of control, but that firefighters dealing with them may be needed elsewhere in a situation where lives could be at risk.
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ADO Paul Seager said the fires had happened on three different nights this month – September 9, 10 and 14 – with a total of 14 fires.
"We had three one night within 40 minutes, four another night within a similar time and then seven on another night all within around half an hour or so," he said.
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"None of the fires were serious and most of them were just undergrowth, on embankments of the A14 at Trimley, and a couple of litter bins in Felixstowe, one at Great Eastern Square and others in Seaton Road and at Barckenbury.
"It appears someone was following a route, perhaps leaving the town at this time to go home via the A14 and set the fires on their way.
"They would have been having to stop and park up even briefly just to set the fire and then would have been off again – someone may have seen them stopping, acting suspiciously or furtively by the roadside.
"Our concern is that we could be out dealing with one of these deliberate fires and somewhere there could be a fire with the potential to cause harm and damage and it could take us longer to respond to the more serious incident."
Police officers and the force helicopter were called out to help track down the person responsible for the fires but, despite people being stopped on foot and stop-and-checks done on a number of vehicles, no-one has been arrested.
Tim Collins, partner in Bidwells, which manages the 3,400-acre Trimley estate of Trinity College, Cambridge, said fires high up set on the embankments alongside the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road had caused serious damage to the landscaping alongside the dual carriageway and Trinity 2000 development site.
"The fires have put back work there by ten years – those trees were five years' old and now it will be another five years before we are back to where we are now. It is very frustrating," he said.
Anyone with any information about the fires should contact Felixstowe police on 01473 613500.
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