Firefighter's warning to car arsonists

YOBS torched nearly 300 vehicles in Suffolk last year, taking the total number of arsons in the county to more than 500.One of the county's senior firefighters has branded it absolutely ridiculous that lives were being put at risk by vandals and joyriders who set 283 vehicles on fire last year.

YOBS torched nearly 300 vehicles in Suffolk last year, taking the total number of arsons in the county to more than 500.

One of the county's senior firefighters has branded it absolutely ridiculous that lives were being put at risk by vandals and joyriders who set 283 vehicles on fire last year.

The figures come at a time when police are stepping up patrols in the south west of Ipswich due to a crime wave which has seen a number of cars torched or damaged.

Fire crews were called to a car fire in Gippeswyk Park at 1.41am today and a fence and shed fire in Philip Road, at 5.14pm yesterday . Both are thought to be suspicious.


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Blazes such as these cost insurance companies and taxpayers millions of pounds because of the damage caused and the need for public services to put out the blazes.

Suffolk's assistant chief fire officer Gary Phillips said: “It is gross stupidity and very, very dangerous. When they set fire to a vehicle you have some very dangerous cocktails. You have got electrics, petrol, oils and very fast burning seats in some of the older cars and it's very hazardous for our crews.

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“It's absolutely ridiculous, because it is just a blight on society. It costs so much money.

“The worst case scenario is when there's a house fire that could potentially lead to a loss of someone's life and we are dealing with an arson somewhere else. If we catch anybody we will make sure they are punished.”

ACFO Phillips said a lot of work is being done in Suffolk to limit vehicle arson and the county was ahead of the national average when it came to slashing the number of deliberate fires.

However, he added fire crews were still experiencing difficulties, despite their attempts to educate the youngsters who steal cars and ride around before torching them.

Last month Suffolk Fire Service reported it was called to 219 arsons, but these did not include car, lorry, van or motorbike fires which had been deliberately ignited.

It was also revealed fire crews have been called to 13 school blazes in the county between April 1 last year and the end of last month, seven of which were arson.

The largest was the fire at Copleston High School in Ipswich, which likely to run into a seven-figure repair bill.

N Has your property been targeted by an arsonist? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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