Thousands of pounds worth of damage caused in arson attack
THOUSANDS of pounds in children’s toys, bicycles and tools stored in sheds have been destroyed in an arson attack police are linking to an almost identical incident four years ago.
Fire crews from Swindon were called to Doris Archer Court, in Pinehurst, at around 4am yesterday morning to reports of a fire at a shed, which then took hold and spread to three other sheds destroying mountain bikes, roller skates, power tools and garden furniture.
Residents of the Aster Communities-run block of houses said they are angry they have been victims again and feel they should have been afforded more protection.
Police were also called after fire investigators ruled the blaze was started deliberately, and they are thought to be linking it to another arson attack in which four sheds were torched in April 2009.
Among those who lost items in the latest attack were Alan Graham, 31, who had bought a reinforced wooden shed with a bitumen roof following the previous incident.
“I can’t believe it’s happened again,” the dad-of-four said.
“My youngest daughter, who is only eight, came into our bedroom and said she felt hot and the shed was on fire. She’s only recently got over the nightmares from the last time this happened.
“I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs. We had use my hose to try and put the fire out because the block next door doesn’t have an outside tap.
“We managed to salvage a lot more than we did last time but we still lost the majority of the kids’ toys and some furniture – it was full of stuff. I had saved and saved to buy all the toys again for the kids and also get a better shed which I thought would be more fire-proof. and now it’s all gone again.”
Helen Ponton added: “We told the housing association to sort out the communal gate, which broke four months ago and they’ve done nothing. They also said they were going to move the sheds to another part of the garden and make the metal but they haven’t.”
“Even when we reported this they said it could take three days before anyone came to help, until we called the Adver.”
A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “We were called at 4.10am on Monday morning to a fire in Doris Archer Court to reports of five sheds damaged by fire.
“The incident is being treated as suspicious and we are looking into any links with a similar incident in 2009.”
A spokesman for Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said: “Five sheds and 5m of fencing were destroyed by a fire started deliberately. One crew from Swindon attended at 4.05am and got the fire under control.”
Anyone with any information should contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.