‘I was terrified’ - Grandparents become the latest victims of arsonists in Sprowston

The result of the arson attack on on Wednesday, October 19, on Proctor Road.

The result of the arson attack on on Wednesday, October 19, on Proctor Road. - Credit: Archant

An 82-year-old grandfather rushed outside to stop a fire spreading to his home after arsonists struck in a late-night attack.

Where the conifers once stood on Proctor Road before the arson

Where the conifers once stood on Proctor Road before the arson - Credit: Archant

It was the third in a series of incidents along Proctor Road, in Sprowston, and resulted in a group of conifers being set on fire and destroyed.

According to Norfolk Fire Services' head of prevention and protection, Garry Collins, the outcome could have been much worse.

And he is now urging people to come forward with any information to bring an end to the spate of suspected arson attacks in the area.

The most recent fire was started in a front garden shortly after midnight last Saturday while the homeowners were asleep.

A 79-year-old woman, who lives at the address, said she was abruptly awoken by her neighbour who was frantically banging on the front door.

'We got up and looked out of the window to see the conifers alight and the flames were in danger of licking across to the house,' she added.

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'My husband ran out, got the hose and damped down the roof of the house to stop the fire from spreading.

'I was terrified and have been so upset by it all. I'm struggling to sleep at night, and just can't settle.'

The couple, who did not want to be named, have since had to install security cameras outside their home.

A police spokesman said officers carried out house-to-house enquiries, but are now appealing for witnesses.

It happened just three days after a nearby house on Proctor Road also had its large hedgerow set on fire.

James Johnson, 61, who lives next door, said the fire also took place in the early hours of the morning.

'It is such a peaceful area normally,' he said. 'But now we keep our windows open all the time now to hear any noises.

'What we could do with is a bobby on the beat around here.'

It is not known who is responsible for the fires, but neighbours claimed to have seen groups of young people in the area.

Town councillor Robert Fowkes said youths were often spotted at the roundabout with White Woman Lane in the evenings.

But he added: 'It is normally a safe area, and we don't get a lot of trouble around here.'

The fires come almost a year after another nearby house on Proctor Lane was targeted twice in two months.

Eddy Street, 42, said two large trees were set alight, along with the hedges at the front of his parents' home in November and December.

It resulted in £4,000 worth of damage, which was covered by insurance.

Garry Collins, from the fire service, said the most recent incident most likely a 'deliberate' and 'malicious' act given the time of day.

'Lighting a hedge on fire is a low level incident,' he said. 'But that could spread to something more serious involving a building and potentially endangering life.'

He added that anyone convicted of arson could face a maximum of life sentence in prison.

Anyone with information is asked to contact officers at Sprowston Police station on 101. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111

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