Ipswich: Arrest in London Road arson probe as police reassure residents

Police have today reassured residents of London Road that they are working to solve the problems in the area following two recent suspected arson attacks.

Inspector Andrew Mason, of the Ipswich Central Safer Neighbourhood Team, said they are actively working in London Road with the landlords of the block of flats where both fires occurred, Ipswich Borough Council and other partners to boost community cohesion.

This comes following two serious fires within the last two weeks.

A 34-year-old man from the town was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life following the blaze at a block of flats in London Road on Monday. He has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Nine people were rescued from inside the burning building, which is close to the junction with Burlington Road, after the fire broke out shortly after 3am in a ground-floor flat.

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Neighbours woke to discover their flats smoke-logged and were forced to wait for firefighters to help them to safety.

The terrifying ordeal comes just two weeks after another alleged arson attack at the same block of flats.

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Police officers are today continuing their investigations and have linked the two crimes.

Insp Mason said: “I understand people might be some what concerned about two fires of this nature.

“To give local residents and the wider community a bit of reassurance, police were already aware of the problems at the location before the events of Monday night occurred.

“We are actively working at that end of London Road with the landlords of the property, Ipswich Borough Council and other partners to boost community cohesion.

“That particular part of Ipswich does suffer from an absent landlord and a transient population and so people’s interest in community ties is not as strong as in other parts of the town.

“We are trying to help build the idea of care in the community by identifying who lives in the area, what nationalities they are and talking with people to see what needs to be done.”

But he admitted there is a long way to go in achieving community cohesion in the area.

“I am confident we now understand the problems where we may not have in the past, so we are going in the right direction. The main thing we have done is extensive door-to-door, taking a street at a time, to learn who lives there and what their experiences are.”

He said many of the “big issues” are born out of small misunderstandings among people who may not understand one another.

“It is often trivial things but it is how community tension can occur. It is small incidents which can blow up into bigger problems,” he added.

The 34-year-old has been questioned by officers and released on police bail while inquiries continue.

Any witnesses to the fire on Monday are asked to call Dc Mark Pollikett at CID on 01473 613500.

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