Warning after EIGHT suspected arson attacks

Car damaged by suspected arson attack in Blackthorn Drove, Gosport. 
Picture submitted by John Newton
Car damaged by suspected arson attack in Blackthorn Drove, Gosport. Picture submitted by John Newton

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ARSONISTS are putting lives at risk, firefighters have warned after a spate of suspicious fires.

Cars, motorbikes, a tree and a block of flats are believed to have been set alight intentionally over three days.

Four blazes were started in Portsmouth yesterday in suspected arson attacks, with four suspicious fires in Gosport between Friday and Saturday.

A motorbike was torched in Lake Road, Landport, at 1am, and two other motorbikes were destroyed by a fire in a car park in Cornwallis Crescent, Landport just after 3.30am.

Rubbish, a tree and shrubbery were set alight in Charlotte Street, Portsmouth, near to Cascades Shopping Centre, at 3.30am.

One of the damaged motorbikes belongs to Richard Bridgett, from Landport.

The 22-year-old sales advisor uses the £5,000 Yamah to get to work.

He said: ‘They clearly have nothing better to do with their lives. They have literally done it for fun. It is disgusting. I am furious.

‘It is terrible and very dangerous.’

Speaking about the smaller incidents yesterday, a spokesman for Hampshire fire service said: ‘These incidents divert attention away from serious fires where people’s lives may be at risk.

‘They are a waste of our resources.’

On Saturday at 2am, a black Vauxhall Astra was set alight in Blackthorn Drive, Gosport.

Fire crews in Gosport used a hose reel and two breathing apparatus to battle the blaze in an attempt to protect a nearby building that was at risk if it spread.

A spokesman for the fire service added: ‘The incident is being treated as suspicious and police were also in attendance.’

A van was also damaged by fire at 3.45am in the same street in the early hours of Friday.

Resident Craig-Ross Bethell saw the firefighters battling the fire.

He said: ‘It is disgusting that people are out at this time and feel the best way to pass the time is to destroy someone’s property and in the case of the van, their livelihood.’

Fire crews attended a third separate car fire on the same night in the same road, which saw a Peugeot car damaged.

Earlier on Friday, firefighters went to a blaze at flats in the former White Swan pub in Forton Road, Gosport at 2.55am, where it is believed somebody set fire to rubbish in a communal area, leading to 11 people fleeing their homes, some via the upstairs windows.

The damage meant several residents were told they could not return at the weekend.

Police said they were not linking the flat fire to the car attacks.

n A white Audi was destroyed by fire near Hendy Ford on the A27 Southampton Road on Saturday evening. This is not being treated as suspicious and there were no injuries.