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Fire raiser hutned in Felixstowe

PUBLISHED: 18:30 05 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 March 2010

POLICE were today hunting a dangerous serial fire raiser after three arson attacks in Felixstowe in just half an hour.

The incidents all happened in the same area of the town – with firefighters putting out a blaze and being immediately called to a fresh 999.

POLICE were today hunting a dangerous serial fire raiser after three arson attacks in Felixstowe in just half an hour.

The incidents all happened in the same area of the town – with firefighters putting out a blaze and being immediately called to a fresh 999.

Today police appealed for anyone with information or who may have seen the person who started the fires to contact them as a £1,000 bounty was placed on the heads of the firebugs.

Eighteen months ago the same area of the resort was plagued by a fire raiser who carried out a string of attacks over several weeks, but was never caught.

Last night's incidents started at 9.17pm when two cars were set alight in a back alley behind new houses in Margaret Street.

Seven minutes later a storage shed at the rear of the Co-op store in Wadgate Road was reported on fire, and 13 minutes later, at 9.37pm, a Volkswagen camper van was set alight just 200 yards away on the corner of Wadgate Road and Thorn Way, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

The crew which had just extinguished the Co-op fire could see the flames leaping from the camper van down the street.

A police spokeswoman today confirmed that the incidents were being treated as arson and were being linked.

"We would urge anyone who saw people acting suspiciously in these areas to come forward and talk to us – they may have seen something vital which would help us find the person behind the incidents," she said.

"These sort of incidents are always treated very seriously and the investigation will be very thorough."

Assistant Divisional Officer Paul Seager said both Felixstowe's fire engines were called out, with a team of retained firefighters tackling the Wadgate Road blazes.

"They had just finished putting out the Co-op fire when someone approached them and told them about the camper van further down the road and they immediately went to that," he said.

The two cars in Margaret Street were derelict and dumped in a little-used alleyway which only someone with extensive local knowledge would have known about – also suggesting that targets were carefully picked.

One of the cars was already jacked up on bricks with no front wheels and the other was parked just a few yards away.

The shed at the Co-op was used for storing cardboard packaging containers, and the fire crew's swift action managed to stop the blaze spreading to the store.

The VW camper van, which suffered severe damage, had been parked on the driveway of a house.

Today The Evening Star offered £1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

People with information should contact Felixstowe police on 01473 613500.

In spring 2000, the Wadgate Road-Coronation estate area of town was targeted by a firebug who carried out a number of arson attacks – including a similar incident of three within half an hour one night – on cars, boats and trailers parked outside homes.

Residents were terrified that the attacks would lead to a serious incident involving injury or loss of life, and one victim even installed CCTV cameras to monitor his property.


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