Family flee after yobs torch donations

AN Ipswich father today told how young tearaways are turning his life into a living hell after arsonists torched charity shop donations worth £2,000.Kevin Bunn and his family had to flee their home after toxic fumes from the blaze were about to engulf it.

AN Ipswich father today told how young tearaways are turning his life into a living hell after arsonists torched charity shop donations worth £2,000.

Kevin Bunn and his family had to flee their home after toxic fumes from the blaze were about to engulf it.

After winning this month's election Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged to spend his new term fighting anti-social behaviour.

Now Mr Bunn, his wife Mimi and 10-year-old daughter Mae have seen the worst of Ipswich's yob culture.

In the latest, and most dangerous incident yet, the family was forced to evacuate their first floor flat in Nacton Road.

The flat filled with toxic smoke and was just minutes from being engulfed by the blaze as it spread through the back garden of the terraced building.

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Firefighters saved the flat and charity shop below but two sheds were severely damaged and hundreds of items of clothing, toys, records and furniture donated to the St Elizabeth Hospice charity shop were destroyed.

A furious Mr Bunn said: "I looked out the bathroom window and I could see a glimmer and I noticed one of the sheds was on fire.

"Within about three or four minutes the shed was well alight and the fire spread to the other shed - that shed stands about six inches away from our building.

"It was scary. If I hadn't gone to the bathroom or if I'd gone 10 minutes earlier I wouldn't have seen it and the fire would have spread to the building.

"This could have led to a death - the fire was right underneath my daughter's window."

Bags of clothing donated to the charity shop had been dragged out of one of the sheds and set alight.

Julia Johnson, manager of the St Elizabeth Hospice shop, said about £2,000 of goods had been destroyed including toys, which would have been offered for sale at Christmas.

She said: "The community up here are wonderful and to have this happen will not just upset the volunteers here it will upset the community as well. People will be disgusted."

The suspected arson, which happened at about 10.15pm on Sunday , is the latest in a string of incidents in which the Bunn's had been targeted.

Just a few days before the fire, thieves climbed through razor wire to steal a new £600 moped from the same garden where the sheds were set alight.

The bike, which belongs to Mrs Bunn, was dumped in a neighbouring yard but not before the thieves caused between £200 and £300 damage when they tried to hotwire it.

Just days before he said a gang of children, aged between only 10 and 13 and one wearing an electronic tag used by the courts to enforce curfew orders, asked to buy the bike after spying it in the enclosed garden.

Mr Bunn, 46, said: "They banged on the front door asking if the bike was for sale. I said 'how do you know I've got a bike' because I keep it under covers out the back and they said they could see it from the bank roof next door. They offered me £50 for it."

Children as young as 10 are regularly seen climbing on to the flat roof of the bank adjoining Mr Bunn's flat. He said employees at a nearby restaurant reported seeing a group of children climbing on to the roof shortly before the fire.

"The more we do to upgrade security the more eager they are to get in," Mr Bunn said.

"I've had my car broken into, a push-bike stolen, the moped stolen and now this fire. Does someone have to get killed? Obviously they have no conscience."

A spokesman for Suffolk police confirmed an arson investigation was under way today.

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