Spate of bin fires in Gosport is putting lives at risk

WARNING Bins are being set alight in Gosport High Street.
WARNING Bins are being set alight in Gosport High Street.

People told not to be alarmed by armed police officers on patrol

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A SERIES of fires is putting people’s lives at risk, according to a fire station manager.

Arsonists are thought to be to blame for the blazes, which saw bins set on fire behind shops on Gosport’s High Street.

The fire brigade were called out four times in under two hours on Tuesday evening and in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

A fire engine from Gosport went out to a fire at around 11.30pm, which had started in a bin at the back of the 99p Store.

At around midnight, the crew was called out for the second time to the bins at the back of The Star, a JD Wetherspoons pub.

At 1.30am the crew was called out again to the same bins at The Star but also to bins at the back of the Salvation Army charity shop.

Gosport fire station manager Tim Spencer-Peet said: ‘These fires were quite obviously malicious rather than an accident.

‘The perpetrators need to realise that we will always respond, but while we are responding to their five minutes of madness, we cannot take any other calls which could well be a life-threatening emergency of somebody they know.’

He also said that while Gosport are dealing with fires, if another fire was to break out the fire engine would have to come from Fareham, which would mean losing vitally important time.

Mr Spencer-Peet said: ‘It is putting the whole community at risk and it is costing the local community and it is certainly creating a blot of the landscape.

‘It is not cheap to send out a fire engine, which the taxpayer pays for, and it costs the council to clear it up.’

CCTV has been handed to the police which they are looking at.

A spokesman from Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘It has been reported to us that four bins were set alight in the High Street.

‘Police officers are reviewing lines of inquiry and would like to hear from anyone with any information.

‘We would be particularly interested to hear from anyone who may have seen somebody acting suspiciously.’

Anyone with information should call Gosport police on 101.