Hunt for arsonists after police centre blaze
8:00pm Tuesday 10th September 2013 in Latest News
A FIRE which devastated Wiltshire Police’s tri-force firearms training centre near Bristol is being treated as arson.
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed the blaze at the Black Rock Quarry specialist training centre in Portishead was being treated as deliberate.
The fire broke out during the early hours of August 27 and smoke could be seen from 12 miles away.
The £16m centre was planned to open next year and was to be used by officers from the Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire forces.
Detective Superintendent Andy Williams, head of the major crime investigation team, said: “Very soon after the fire was discovered we began a detailed and thorough investigation.
“We brought in a forensic scientist with specific expertise in the field of arson to work closely alongside our own crime scene investigation and forensic teams to get to the root cause of the fire.
“Together they have concluded that the building was deliberately set alight.
“Our searches for forensic evidence have been carried out in the most meticulous way despite the devastation caused by the fire, and our examination of the scene continues still.
“We are under no illusions about the scale of the task we face and are likely to remain at the scene for some time, but we will do everything in our power to ensure that whoever is responsible is brought to justice.
“If anyone has any information that might help us then please call us on 101.”
Hours after the fire broke out at the training centre, an anarchist group claimed it started the blaze.
In a post on the Bristol Indymedia website the group, calling itself the Angry Foxes Cell, said it “used accelerant to burn the major electrical cables” and left the complex with “flames licking high”.