Taxi firm in Gorleston hit by three arson attacks in the space of one month

Ocean Cabs arson attack. Co-owner Joe Kitchen with the burnt out cars.
Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Ocean Cabs arson attack. Co-owner Joe Kitchen with the burnt out cars. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

A taxi firm targeted in three arson attacks has urged anyone with information to come forward.

Ocean Cabs arson attack. Co-owner Joe Kitchen with the burnt out cars.
Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Ocean Cabs arson attack. Co-owner Joe Kitchen with the burnt out cars. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Ocean Cabs, based on Riverside Road in Gorleston, has been hit three times in the last month, with six vehicles being set alight. And CCTV footage shows it could be the same man in each instance.

Lesley Martin, manager at Ocean Cabs, said it all started on March 18, around 7pm. She said: 'On the CCTV, a man walks round with a cap on and a hood up, and sets fire to a VW campervan.'

'On the weekend we have someone upstairs in the office and luckily a passerby called up to them and we were able to put that one out ourselves, although we still called the fire brigade with it being a vehicle.'

The following Saturday, March 25, what appears to be the same man appears on CCTV again between 9pm and 9.15pm.

Ocean Cabs arson attack.
Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Ocean Cabs arson attack. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017


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'Again, you see him walk up and back again, but then you see me follow him out and chase him because I recognised him from the CCTV before,' Mrs Martin said.

He managed to get away, but Mrs Martin then received a phone call to say their vehicles were on fire. In this incident, the firm lost one taxi and one staff vehicle - plus two vehicles belonging to customers of the garage based at the same site.

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Finally on Sunday, April 16, the same man appeared on the CCTV and another taxi was set alight.

'Luckily, one of our taxis drove past and the driver called over and we immediately called the fire brigade and police. That time the vehicle was a write off,' Mrs Martin said.

Ocean Cabs arson attack.
Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Ocean Cabs arson attack. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

'As a local business, it affects us terribly. In this building there are three businesses, Autotune, Ocean Cabs and Twice Around. So basically everybody is terrified.

'We employ 20 people and if this is to carry on and we lose any of the businesses, it affects not only us but people's employment too, it's not good for us and it's not good for the local area.'

A Norfolk Police spokesman said: 'Police are investigating an incident of arson on Riverside Road in Gorleston which happened between 9.15pm and 9.35pm on Sunday 16 April. A taxi was set on fire causing damage.

'Police are investigating two separate, but similar incidents, which happened in March, resulting in five vehicles being damaged. Six vehicles have been damaged in total. CCTV has been examined but has not provided any leads.'

Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Richard Bladon and PC Carl Carter on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

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