Arsonist suspects captured on CCTV
5:30am Thursday 6th February 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
POLICE are hunting four teenagers who were caught on CCTV sneaking into a disused building in Purton shortly before a fire engulfed it.
Police are appealing for any information in connection with the suspected arson, which happened close to Long Acre, or the identity of the people caught on camera.
The unoccupied coach house, which sits behind a farm building on the High Street, was undergoing major renovation at the time, and the fire caused extensive damage.
The owners were not in the area at the time and the alarm was raised by neighbours after they saw flames rising from the roof on January 11.
Tony Samms, 76, of Long Acre, spotted the fire and alerted the emergency services.
He said: “I saw flames licking up through the roof and sparks flying up.
“At first I was worried about the trees in my neighbour’s garden, because if it had caught any of those it could have spread.
“I called the fire brigade, who got here in about 15 minutes. They stayed here until about 2am while they tried to get the fire under control. This is very unusual for this area.
“I have been here for 30 years, and nothing like this has ever happened before.”
The CCTV footage, above, taken from a nearby location, shows four youths, three males and a female, enter the property and leave after the fire was started.
The first of the males was seen wearing a bobble hat, jacket and tracksuit bottoms.
The second was wearing a jumper with a gilet or jacket with shoulder patches and a beanie hat.
The third male youth was wearing a hooded top with black shoes.
The female was wearing a puffa-style jacket with darker clothes underneath.
She had her hood up with a bobble hat under the hood. She was also carrying ahandbag and wearing trousers.
All of the youths appear to be under 18 years old.
Detective Sergeant Liz Coles from Swindon CID said: “Clearly, this incident has caused huge upset for the owners but at this stage we believe this appears to be a reckless act of vandalism rather than a personal attack. A detailed police investigation is under way, supported by Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“I would urge anyone with information on the incident or anyone who thinks they recognise any of the people in CCTV footage to come forward. The smallest piece of information might prove vital in this investigation.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.