Police hunt arsonists after spate of deliberate fires in Torquay
A POLICE operation has been launched to hunt down arsonists believed to be behind a series of fire attacks in Torquay.
It comes after a spate of deliberate fires, the latest of which destroyed a car, a shed and a lean-to building attached to a house.
The same person is believed to be responsible for the three early morning blazes within an hour of each other on December 27.
Detectives were already concerned about the number of arson attacks on vehicles, sheds and bins over the last few weeks.
Now Operation Gallon will look for links between the latest incident and those on December 13 and December 20.
DC Nicola Zulhayir, of Torquay CID, said "We want residents to be aware that there have been a spate of arsons to unattended vehicles, bins and sheds.
"We would like people to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police."
On December 27 fire crews and police were called to three separate incidents in Torquay.
The first was in Braddons Hill Road West, near the town centre.
Two fire engines were sent to the scene at 2.55am after a number of calls from members of the public who reported a shed was on fire.
Nothing of value inside the shed was damaged but the building itself was destroyed and a car belonging to a neighbour was slightly damaged by residual heat.
While crews were dealing with the shed fire, they were called to a second incident at Mount Pleasant Road in Ellacombe.
A £1,000 Ford Escort was in flames and crews could not prevent it being destroyed.
While crews were at the car fire, there was a 999 call to attend a second shed fire, this time in Windsor Road.
A retained fire crew had to be called out to deal with this and they were joined by a crew from Paignton.
They found the eight-metre long shed, which was being used for general storage, well alight.
Crews used four breathing apparatus, two water jets, and one covering jet to put the blaze out.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service confirmed it was started deliberately and was probably linked to the two previous fires.
All the incidents happened between 3am and 3.45am.
Detectives think there may even be a link to fires earlier in the month.
On December 13, there were five fires in one night involving bins and cars.
One December 21, two cars were destroyed on Teignmouth Road and more rubbish set alight.
Anyone with information about the crimes should call 101.
Also on December 27 a bin was deliberately set on fire in Ash Hill Road, Torquay. A number of houses lost their telephone connection after the fire damaged BT cables. The fire service confirmed the blaze, which happened at 1.30am, had been started deliberately.