Minister: Turn in arsonists

A POLICE minister today told residents of south east Ipswich that it is up to them to turn in the arsonists plaguing their estates.MP Tony McNulty, minister for police and security, said the public should tell police who the offenders are.

A POLICE minister today told residents of south east Ipswich that it is up to them to turn in the arsonists plaguing their estates.

MP Tony McNulty, minister for police and security, said the public should tell police who the offenders are.

During a visit to the Racecourse area of the town, where he knocked on the doors of residents to discuss issues ahead of the local elections next week, Mr McNulty said it was a problem the public could eradicate.

The Evening Star has reported several high-profile car arson attacks in the past few weeks, including the story of families forced to flee their homes in Hurricane Place after joyriders torched a stolen car on April 14 and the blaze spread to nearby homes and vehicles.

Mr McNulty said: “The key message in respect to all Labour has done in respect of anti-social behaviour is people don't have to put up with it.

“They need to turn these people in, working with safer neighbourhood teams.

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“This is invariably young kids, and too often they can do it without impunity.

“People are not doing anyone favours if they know who is doing this. It impacts very seriously on the community, and the community needs better.

“It's a fad kids often get into but it's not just them having a lark, and people who know what's going on need to take responsibility and work with councils and police to stop it.”

Among the other Labour supporters involved in the door-knocking on Thursday was Bill Knowles, the party candidate for Priory Heath.

He said: “The issues people wanted to talk about include the threats to bus services and recycling and dustbins. They also voiced appreciation over the improvements in security in the area, including the CCTV in Queen's Way and the police community support officers.”

Mr McNulty also spoke about Ipswich's response to the red-light killings.

He said: “It's right that the kerb crawlers and drug issues are being tackled, and not a case of condemning the prostitutes and sending them away to somewhere else.

“It's about persistence to eradicate the problem, not hoping it will just go away.”

Would you shop yobs blighting your area? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Path of devastation: Recent car fires in Ipswich

Monday: Ritabrook Road

April 19: Broadmere Road

April 17: Bramble Wood, Christchurch Street (four cars), Cobham Road, Hawke Road, Heather Avenue

April 16: Ellenbrook Road, Landseer Park

April 15: Woodrush Road

April 14: Hurricane Place (three cars)

TONY McNulty today defended his decision to refuse The Evening Star an interview in 2005 in the wake of the Matt Rahmati asylum seeker row.

Mr Rahmati hit the headlines when the Home Office sent him back to his home country of Afghanistan despite his plea to stay in the country as an asylum seeker after the Taliban killed his father.

Mr Rahmati, now back living in Ipswich on a two-year visa, was sent back to Afghanistan for four months in 2005. As The Evening Star campaigned for his return to his wife, house and job in Ipswich, the then immigration minister Mr McNulty refused an interview.

But today, he said: “As a matter of course I wouldn't have done an interview on an individual case.

“I still wouldn't do it now as it's inappropriate of a minister.

“I was in charge of the strategic overall framework, but not individual cases and it wouldn't have been right in general policy terms or as a matter of principle.

“I wasn't just being mean and talking today about election issues is entirely different.”

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