Update: Man in court over Great Yarmouth arson which saw Ben the arson detecting dog called into action

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has 'employed' Ben as a fire investigation dog. Here Ben is pictured with his handler Peter Abbs. Picture: Ian Burt Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has 'employed' Ben as a fire investigation dog. Here Ben is pictured with his handler Peter Abbs. Picture: Ian Burt

Friday, November 23, 2012
11:25 AM

A 23-year-old man was due to appear at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court this morning, (Friday 23 November), charged with arson with intent to endanger life and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

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"With Ben as part of the detection team it sends out a warning to would be arsonists that the chances of getting caught has significantly increased."

Richard Herrell.

Paul Ray, from Nelson Road South, was arrested around 10.40pm on Wednesday, (November 21) following a fire at a property in Nelson Road South earlier in the evening.

He was interviewed by officers and has now been charged with the arson with intent to endanger life and with possession of a firearm - a BB gun.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s first accelerant detection dog was deployed in Yarmouth to deal with the arson. Fire crews from Yarmouth were called to the address at 20.13pm on Wednesday. The fire was already out when the crews arrived but arson was suspected.

Fire investigation officers, working with police, asked for dog Ben to be deployed.

And Ben was able to confirm firefighters’ suspicions that there were several “seats” of fire.

Richard Herrell, who carried out the fire investigation, said: “The fact that Ben was able to confirm our suspicions in such a short time scale means that we can support the police with their investigation very quickly.

“The real message with incidents of this nature, is that Norfolk is geared up to assist in flushing out arsonist. Arson is a terrible crime which can lead to loss of life. With Ben as part of the detection team along with scenes of crime and the police it sends out a warning to would be arsonists that the chances of getting caught has significantly increased.”

Since his arrival in June, two-year-old Cocker Spaniel Ben has been working with his handler station manager Peter Abbs. Ben’s role will be to assist fire investigators in detecting the presence of ignitable liquids which may have been used in cases of arson.

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