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Fire service urges public to be vigilant as arsonist still hunted by officers

PUBLISHED: 11:20 11 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:48 12 May 2019

Fire crews have had to deal with an increasing number of arsons. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Fire crews have had to deal with an increasing number of arsons. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Archant

A leading figure at Norfolk's fire service has urged the public to be vigilant of people starting fires as police continue to hunt for an arsonist who set fire to a number of cars.

Garry Collins, head of prevention and protection at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. Picture: ArchantGarry Collins, head of prevention and protection at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. Picture: Archant

Police and fire crews were called to Winchester Way, Thetford, at 12.50am on Saturday, April 27 after a VW Beetle was set alight.

Just 20 minutes later emergency services were called to Guildford Way, just two minutes down the road, to a Ford Galaxy that had also been set on fire.

The teams believe that the incidents are linked and are still searching for the culprit.

Garry Collins, head of fire prevention and protection at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, urges anyone who sees people starting fires to call police and report them.

Police are still searching for an arsonist after fires in Thetford.  Picture: Chris BishopPolice are still searching for an arsonist after fires in Thetford. Picture: Chris Bishop

He said: "Arson costs lives. Those responsible will be caught and prosecuted.

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"They put lives at risk and stretch our resources which may well be needed elsewhere. Where firefighters are busy tackling deliberate blazes those resources are unavailable when they may be needed elsewhere to deal with another fire or a road traffic collision."

In relation to the Thetford incidents Mr Collins has called on members of the public to report any activity that they think maybe linked to the car fires.

He added: "Call 999 if a crime is in progress or 101 if you have any information regarding the recent incidents in Thetford which the Police are currently investigating. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Police have conducted house knocks in the area and have studied CCTV but no arrests have been made.

The investigation comes as the number of arsons are on the rise with 652 in the county in 2017/18, up 40pc on the previous year.

The service attended 2,184 fires in 2017/18, which was 136 more than over the previous 12 months.

Anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the areas at the time of the incidents, or anyone with information, should contact Sgt Peter Boyle at Thetford Police Station on 101.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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