Hunt for arsonists who set fire to four cars on same night

Jamie Sibley

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A WOMAN has told of her anger after her car was torched - not long after it was replaced following another crime.

Toni Preater awoke in the early hours to find arsonists had set fire to her Vauxhall Corsa outside her home in Powerscourt Road, North End.

The mum-of-four rushed outside and discovered passers-by had called the fire brigade.

But the car was completely destroyed in the blaze at about 3.45am on New Year's Eve.

To make matters worse, it came only months after Ms Preater had bought it to replace her Renault Megane after it was written off by a drug-driver who smashed into it in the same spot.

The 41-year-old said: 'I woke up and heard noises outside. I thought there was a burglary going on. I sneaked a peak out of the blinds, then I heard a woman screaming "oh my God, oh my God." I opened the window to see what the fuss was about and I just saw flames.

'The fire brigade couldn't even tell what make or model the car was. I only knew it was mine because it had a spare wheel trim standing upright and some garden chairs in the boot.'

'I'm so angry. Why do people do things like this?'

The arson was one of four incidents in which cars were torched in the city in Portsmouth on the same night.

Police were also called to nearby Drayton Road, North End, to reports that a Rover Metro had been burnt out at about the same time as Ms Preater's car.

About half an hour earlier a Ford Ka parked in Villiers Road, Southsea, was damaged after being torched.

And at about 2.40am, police received a report that a Vauxhall Corsa had been found burnt out in a car park at Brownlow Close, Buckland.

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: 'Police have conducted house-to-house enquiries in the areas affected and looked at the possibility of forensics.

'We would like to hear from anyone with information about any of the fires, residents who may have seen someone acting suspiciously in the area in the early hours of Friday, December 31.'

Anyone with information is asked to contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101 or 0845 0454545 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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