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Hadleigh residents face new attack

PUBLISHED: 23:00 03 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:34 03 March 2010

THEY could be among the unluckiest residents in Britain - some have already sold up, others are trying to move.

Beleaguered homeowners in Hadleigh - already the subject of repeated arson attacks - now face the new threat of garden looting.

THEY could be among the unluckiest residents in Britain – some have already sold up, others are trying to move.

Beleaguered homeowners in Hadleigh – already the subject of repeated arson attacks – now face the new threat of garden looting.

For months arsonists have targeted homeowners in a residential area of Pykenham Way in a spate of random blazes.

Now residents who already feel under siege are counting the cost of a spate of thefts from their gardens.

Patricia Whymark who had a giant snail and a birdbath stolen on two separate raids, said: "I can smile about it now but I cried buckets at the time. The birdbath was an anniversary present and the snail was only one of three specially made. I can't imagine how they lifted them.

"I try and keep in nice but what can I do? I'm not buying any more because they'll only be stolen too."

But while police aren't linking the arsonists to the garden thefts, fed up residents think the same gangs are to blame.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said the area was plagued by out-of-control youngsters in the early hours.

He said: "Last week there were three incidents that the fire service was called to in three days. The kids are as young as 12."

Pykenham Way resident Malcolm Phillips said: "It's most probably the same lot. They don't realise the effect this is having on people. Property prices are falling and insurance is going up."

He knew of one family planning to sell up and leave the area.

Peggy Garnham said: "People want to move but as soon as they say the words Pykenham Way, that's it."

But Inspector Lincoln Pratt denied the spate of bad luck was linked. He said: "They are very different. Whoever is taking the garden ornaments is likely to have an outlet for them. Arson is a different matter."

A concrete cat and two dwarves pushing a wheelbarrow were among thieves' haul from another garden.

A day earlier another home in Pykenham Way had a concrete birdbath stolen at the same time a brass sundial went missing from a garden in neighbouring Meadows Way.

The theft came a day after two concrete lions, described as "ornate" were stolen from nearby Edwin Panks Road.

Last month Hadleigh police delivered letters to 300 homes in the area urging people with information about the arson attacks – which include setting fire to wheelie bins and cars – to come forward.

The Evening Star is offering £1,000 reward to the person supplying information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the arsonists.

In March the Star revealed arsonists had been responsible for a staggering 17 blazes in three months.

Members of the public who have seen anyone acting suspiciously or spot the garden ornaments should call PC Dean Webb at Hadleigh Police on 01473 613500 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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