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Prosecution of arsonist halted

PUBLISHED: 23:05 17 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:56 02 March 2010

SUFFOLK prosecutors today defended halting the hunt for an arsonist who caused £18,000 of damage to Woodbridge shelter.

The thatched shelter, in Elmhurst Park, was attacked in February and caused outrage among the community.

SUFFOLK prosecutors today defended halting the hunt for an arsonist who caused £18,000 of damage to Woodbridge shelter.

The thatched shelter, in Elmhurst Park, was attacked in February and caused outrage among the community.

An offender was questioned on suspicion crime but no charges are being laid.

This decision has been criticised from the town council.

Cliff Cocker, town and district councillor, said: "This council expresses its concern at the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to proceed with the prosecution of the alleged offender following the arson attack in Elmhurst Park.

"This decision does not send out a positive message on the consequences of these mindless acts of criminal damage and does nothing to deter the escalation of the anti-social behaviour in this town."

Mac Miles, town councillor, added: "We need to send a message out that people cannot get away with burning something down in the park. I think the CPS should have gone ahead.

"What they are saying is that you can get away with nearly murder in the park. I am very sorry and sad that they are not able to uphold the law."

Ben Redsell, county councillor for Woodbridge, defended the police investigation and said: "The police did a sterling job to take good evidence, but unfortunately the CPS do not think they had enough."

The town council agreed to ask the CPS to justify its decision to drop proceedings.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Suffolk said: "The evidence in this case, due to contradictory witnesses' statements, did not present a realistic prospect of conviction.

"If we allow cases that do not stand a chance of conviction to be heard in court we would be wasting public money, the courts' time, the time of victims and witnesses, and the efforts of many organisations and individuals.

"The CPS is committed to tackling youth crime."


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