Arson probe as three cars and caravan are torched in Portsmouth

CCTV released after woman’s bag is stolen

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POLICE have launched an arson investigation after three cars and a caravan were torched.

Fire engines were called to New Road, Copnor, close to The Mermaid pub, just before 4am on Saturday.

Three cars were on fire and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blazes.

Five minutes later another 999 call came in about a burning caravan, also in New Road.

The fire took about 20 minutes to put out.

Residents spoke of their shock as they woke up to the damage. Karen Standen, 49, had her work van parked next to the caravan.

Mrs Standen said: ‘I went down this morning and my van was blackened up. It was covered in foam and soot.

‘I’m just glad there were no gas cylinders in the caravan, otherwise my van and lots of other cars would have been on fire.’

She said residents were concerned as there also been a spate of car break-ins.

Last week, her husband Ken, an electrician, had his car broken into and 30 years worth of tools were stolen.

Mrs Standen said: ‘I lived here for 25 years and it has got worse. It’s just awful.’

Police believe the circumstances of the fire are suspicious.

A spokeswoman for Hampshire Police said: ‘There was an incident of three vehicles and a caravan on fire.

‘Portsmouth CID are investigating.

‘If anyone has any information they could give to help us, please contact us.’

Firefighters were also called to two car fires in Havant over the weekend.

A car was on fire in Emsworth Road at 2.30am on Saturday and arsonists were responsible for another car fire in Ernest Road, Bedhampton, at about 1.30am yesterday.