Gosport was '˜like a war zone' as arsonists' spree wrecks four cars

ARSONISTS left families fearing for their lives after going on a wanton spree of destruction, torching four cars '“ including a police vehicle.

Tuesday, 11th October 2016, 7:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 5:16 pm
A picture taken by Terri Wilson of the police car on fire in Foster Road, Gosport

Thousands of pounds of damage was caused during the three-hour rampage, with several cars left completely gutted.

The attack happened in two neighbouring streets – Foster Road and Linden Grove in Gosport – on Sunday evening, between 7.25pm and 10.20pm.

Yobs systematically torched the vehicles – some parked in driveways – and waited for emergency services to arrive to fight the flames before striking again.

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Then, while an officer was questioning one of the victims, the hooligans doused his parked police car in petrol and set it ablaze, sparking an inferno that wrecked the response vehicle.

Julie Harris, 45, of Foster Road, was the first victim.

Her grey Audi A3 was parked on the drive when it was torched.

The mother-of-two said: ‘I looked out the window and saw my car on fire so I called the emergency services.

‘At first I thought “oh my gosh”, and that it was just an accident.

‘Firefighters arrived very quickly and they tried several times to put the car fire out because it kept reigniting.

‘Then the firefighter said “we’ve got to go, there’s been another incident”.’

The team from Gosport fire station rushed to Linden Grove to battle a second blazing vehicle, a grey Jeep Cherokee, at 7.40pm.

Then, at 9.20pm they were called back to Foster Road to extinguish a silver Mercedes E280.

Mother-of-two Julie was being quizzed by police at this point.

‘All of the sudden we just heard this huge bang and the police officer said “that can’t be another car – I hope it’s not mine”,’ she added.

‘We went out and what I saw was shocking. It was like being in Syria.

‘I looked at the police car and I thought “that is going to blow up” – it was a massive fire.’

Police were unable to catch the culprit and are now appealing for CCTV footage and help with the investigation.

A police dog unit was left overnight to guard the street, while crime scene investigators were yesterday recovering evidence.

But Julie says she now fears for the safety of her family and neighbours while the criminals remain at large.

‘I couldn’t sleep at all last night,’ the dental hygienist told The News.

‘Whoever did this just doesn’t care. They’re just looking for trouble and looking to be caught.

‘They don’t have any consideration, care or conscience. I’m scared they will strike again.’

Detective Constable Chris Hudson is now appealing for information about these incidents to come forward.

‘I’m also keen to hear from any members of the community who may have private CCTV,’ he said. ‘If you do have your own private CCTV, please contact us as soon as possible.’

Anyone with information should contact Det Con Hudson at Fratton police station on 101, quoting 4416382073.