Firebugs strike again

HADLEIGH'S firebugs have struck again.Residents in Pykenham Way were woken in the early hours of yesterday morning when a car parked in the street went up in flames.

By Jo Macdonald

HADLEIGH'S firebugs have struck again.

Residents in Pykenham Way were woken in the early hours of yesterday morning when a car parked in the street went up in flames.

The drama was caught on camera by David Kennington, who lives just a few doors down from the scene of the fire, which started shortly after 1am.

Mr Kennington, 23, said: "I was sitting at home watching television when I heard a lot of shouting outside. I ignored it thinking it was probably someone who was drunk but then I heard mum and dad walking about and they said another car was on fire.

"I grabbed my camera and went out. There were a lot of people stood at their front doors watching. I don't know who the car belonged to though."

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Firefighters from the town were called and took about 15 minutes to bring it under control. They confirmed they are treating the fire as suspicious.

Today the car is a burnt out shell. It has been completely destroyed and hardly a patch of the vehicle remains untouched by the fire.

Mr Kennington said it had left a lot of people worried about leaving their vehicles parked out on the road for fear that they too may be torched.

He said: "My brother-in-law's car was burned and he now puts it in a garage.

"I would say people are getting a lot more hesitant."

The Evening Star is offering a £1,000 reward to the person supplying information which leads to the arrest and successful prosecution of the criminal(s) responsible.

And police are doing all they can to track down the arsonists and bring a stop to the blazes that are being deliberately started around the town. The latest arson attack comes only days after they announced they had stepped up their campaign to hunt down the arsonists responsible for leaving a charred trail in their wake.

Letters have been delivered to households in Pykenham Way, Bradfield Avenue, Bradfield Crescent, Angel Street, Calais Street and Meadows Way urging people with any information to come forward.

And officers are set to start house to house inquiries as their investigation to catch those who are deliberately starting the blazes around the town continues.

Their inquiries have already seen a decline in the number of arson attacks.

At its peak earlier this year the firebug culture plaguing the area saw 17 fires in less than three months but in June there were just two attacks and last month only one. However, as yesterday's blaze shows they are still not stopping.

Inspector Lincoln Pratt said: "Understandably it has caused much concern within the local area because of the potential that fire has to cause a threat to personal safety as well as serious damage.

"We will not be complacent and that is why our enquiries using house to house visits will be pursued to give us the best chance of detecting the offenders."

He added: "We are obviously concerned that people have information and are not coming forward for whatever reason. We hope to change that by personal contact."

Police arrested a 20-year-old near to the scene of yesterday's fire and have charged him with criminal damage following an incident in Market Place on Saturday evening.

The man, from the Hadleigh area, has not been linked with the arson attack.

Anyone with information about yesterday's fire or any other arson attack is urged to contact Suffolk Police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


Fires in the Hadleigh area this year include:

January 1: Car fire in Lady Lane Industrial Estate

January 18: Caravan fire in Bradfield Avenue

January 22: A wheelie bin fire in High Street damaged a Sue Ryder charity shop

January 22: Wheelie bin fire in Magdalen Road

February 13: Car fire in Duke Street

February 16: Shed fire at Hadleigh High School

February 16: The contents of a skip were burned in Pykenham Way

February 23: Car fire in Clopton Gardens

March 8: Two car fires in Ansell Close

March 10: Car fire in Calais Street

March 11: The contents of a skip were burned in Timperley Road

March 21: Car fire in Wades Lane, Raydon

March 23: Car fire in Pykenham Way

March 24: Wheelie bin fire in Angel Street

March 29: Football hut fire in Hintlesham

April 11: Fire in diesel store at Fountains' yard off Pykenham Way spreads to tractor, skip, fence and container

May 20: Car fire in Bradfield Avenue

May 23: Mobile building fire in Fullers Lane

May 26: Two wheelie bins and a van on fire in Pykenham Way. Van fire relit after firefighters put it out.

August 11: Car fire in Pykenham Way