Police remain ‘open-minded’ if latest deliberate Exmouth fire is linked to arson attacks

Police investigating a spate of arson attacks in the Exmouth area are remaining ‘open-minded’ that the latest deliberately-started fire could be linked.

Officers made two arrests in connection with the most recent incident, where a car was set on fire in Pankhurst Close, Littleham, at 3.45pm, on Saturday, August 1, where the blaze spread to a derelict building.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “One of the suspects was released, and due to safeguarding concerns, no further details will be issued in relation to the other suspect at this time.”

They added: “Officers have confirmed that they are remaining open-minded as to whether this incident is linked to preceding attacks which have predominantly occurred in the early hours of the morning, throughout July.”

The car blaze in Pankhurst Close, Exmouth. Picture: Exmouth Fire Station

The car blaze in Pankhurst Close, Exmouth. Picture: Exmouth Fire Station

Detectives at Exmouth want to hear from anyone who has witnessed any suspicious activity or if they have concerns about any person they may know, who has come home smelling of smoke, or has developed a fascination with fire or the emergency services.

They are keen to hear from anyone who may have any information to help their enquiries, including those with CCTV footage from the areas where fires have been started.

Police and the fire service are urging residents and business owners to be vigilant, take steps to reduce the risk of being targeted, and to report any suspicious behaviour.

Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Tim Hegarty of Exmouth CID, said: “We continue to work in partnership with the fire service and the local authority and our enquiries are progressing well.

“We are keeping an open mind as to whether the incident at Pankhurst Close is linked with any of the previous incidents.

“We would like to remind people to be vigilant and report suspicious activity or concerns to us.”

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “Police would like to hear from anyone who may have any information which could assist their enquiries, including those with potentially relevant CCTV footage.”

The bins of commercial premises have been targeted in the majority of the arson attacks.

Two of the fires were started within a week at the same sheltered accommodation flats, Greenhaven, in Budleigh Salterton.

Both times, the fires were started in outside bins, which spread to the building while people slept inside.

One of the arson attacks at Greenhaven involved a deliberately-started fire near gas pipes.

Police are investigating eight suspected arson attacks carried out in the last month to bins in the Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton areas.

Devon and Cornwall Police believe the fires are all linked and have appealed for public help to identify the arsonist.

Flats at Greenhaven, in Greenway Lane, Budleigh Salterton, was targeted on Wednesday 29 July, at around 2am.

The same flats were also hit on Friday, July 24, at 2am.

A further fire happened at Exmouth Pavilion on the Esplanade at 1.30am on Monday, July 13. Police believe an accelerant was used.

The bins at Budleigh Salterton Football Club were set alight at around 3am on Saturday, July 11.

On Wednesday, July 7, several thousand pounds worth of damage was caused to the Bumble and Bee tearoom in the Manor Gardens, Exmouth, after a fire started at 2.45am and spread to the building.

The damage at Bumble and Bee in Exmouth. Picture: Darrell Trigs

The damage at Bumble and Bee in Exmouth. Picture: Darrell Trigs

Further bin fires occurred at Lympstone Boxing Club at 2pm on Sunday, July 5, at Harbour View Café in Exmouth between 8.30am and 9am on Friday, July 3, and at Hamilton Lane in Exmouth between 4am and 7am on Sunday, May 3.

Exmouth

Exmouth Pavilion was targeted by an arsonist in the early hours of Monday, July 13, after bins outside building were deliberately set alight using what police believe was an accelerant.
Photos: EDDC

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 or via email at 101@dc.police.uk quoting log number 99, 13/7/20.

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