Arsonists in late-night village rampage

SHOCKED villagers have spoken of their outrage after arsonists left a trail of destruction in a late night rampage, including five burnt out cars. The frightening arson attacks took place in the early hours of yesterday in villages near Bury St Edmunds and left some residents fearing for their safety.

SHOCKED villagers have spoken of their outrage after arsonists left a trail of destruction in a late night rampage, including five burnt out cars.

The frightening arson attacks took place in the early hours of yesterday in villages near Bury St Edmunds and left some residents fearing for their safety.

Fire chiefs said the time-consuming incidents could have put lives at risk and pledged to work alongside police to catch the offenders.

The first attack was at 3.30am when fire crews tackled a blaze in a red Peugeot estate on the A143 at Ixworth.


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Just a few miles away, in Sandy Lane, Barningham, vandals targeted a blue Vauxhall Astra shortly after 4am, uprooting a road sign and smashing windows before setting the car alight.

Around an hour later, two vehicles in Hopton were destroyed by fire and a third was seriously damaged.

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Tracie Kirby, of Sandy Lane, Hopton, was woken by a neighbour and ran out to save her car which was being scorched by the flames

“I ran out to get the car because I need it but I hadn't thought it might explode,” she said.

“The car was filling with smoke but I didn't think of the danger. I just thought I couldn't afford to lose the car.”

Ms Kirby, who needs the car to take her disabled 10-month-old son Lucas to hospital, said she had never expected such attacks in rural Suffolk.

“I'm totally shocked. This is a nice village and suddenly it has turned into Brixton,” she asid.

“But I still feel safe here, we have a lovely neighbourhood everyone has really pulled together but I hope nothing like this happens again - it is a worry.”

Rachel Banks, landlord of The Vine pub in Hopton, said she hoped the police would improve security in the village.

“I'm on my own and I don't feel safe here anymore. This is a traditional local village pub which the locals love. This is completely shocking - something must be done.”

The owner of one car, which was destroyed in the blaze, had just spent almost £2,000 on repairs when the attack happened.

Max Dowdall was staying with friends just off the High Street in Hopton when he was woken by a neighbour who had seen flames.

“All I could see was a ball of flames, by which time the fire brigade had arrived,” he said.

“I'm not that shocked - for the last six months I've had trouble but nothing like this before.”

A police spokesman said the attacks had been linked but scenes of crime officers had yet to establish if the same culprits were involved.

Fire crews in Suffolk were also called out on Saturday night to spate of four wheelie bin fires in Bury in one hour in St John's Street, the Cornhill, Risbygate Street and Skinner Street. The first fire was started at about 10.15pm.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire Service said: “With all arson fires there is always the potential for the fire to get out of control - these people are putting lives at risk.

“To have all these fires within such a short period is something we will certainly look at. The arsonist may consider them only small fires but the chance of them spreading is very real.

“The fire brigade takes arson very seriously and we will work in partnership with the police and our colleagues on the crime and disorder reduction partnership as well.”

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