Fareham neighbourhood falls victim to firestarter

ARSON Jasmine Thurling, nine, in the burnt out shell of her Wendy house. Picture: Steve Reid (122648-416)

ARSON Jasmine Thurling, nine, in the burnt out shell of her Wendy house. Picture: Steve Reid (122648-416)

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ARSONISTS have targeted a neighbourhood, starting five fires in the past week.

Residents are worried that the latest incident marks an escalation in their behaviour.

The first fires came in the early hours of Sunday when neighbouring homes in St Michael’s Grove in Fareham had wheelie bins set alight.

The following night a home in Upper St Michael’s Grove and one in Highfield Grove also had their bins set alight.

And then at about 2.40am yesterday they returned to their first target – this time burning several fence panels and a children’s play house.

Roy Thurling, of St Michael’s Grove, said: ‘It was on Sunday, my boy noticed flickering through the window. It was our bin just inches from the front porch.

‘We were able to put it out ourselves, but we still got the fire brigade to come and have a look at it and they said they thought it was deliberate.’

The 52-year-old added: ‘And now this has happened, it’s at least £500 of damage. My daughter’s nine now, so she’s growing out of the wendy house, but she’s had it since she was two, and it’s all the memories. But what’s more worrying is how much further is this going to go?

‘We’ve got no problems with anyone around here. My gut feeling is that it’s someone who lives locally.

‘It is scary, and there’s the nightmare of having to evacuate the house in the middle of the night. It does put you on edge.

‘I came home yesterday and there was a four pint milk bottle full of water on the side, and I asked my partner: “What’s that for?” She said my boy was going to take it to bed because he’s that worried.’

Jon Lunt, of Upper St Michael’s Grove, had his wheelie bin burnt and added: ‘Maybe it’s kids bored of the summer holidays, but it is a worry.’

Police and the fire service are working together on the investigation.

Fareham Safer Neighbourhoods Sergeant Gavin Steel said: ‘This is the fifth small fire in the St Michael’s Grove area involving bins and fencing since Sunday.

‘The neighbourhoods teams have been conducting additional patrols in the area and have delivered flyers to residents appealing for information. The team would like to speak to anyone with information on 101.’

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