Vehicle arsonist strikes yet again in Weymouth

THIRD INCIDENT: Fire damaged bike and van in Chapelhay, Weymouth

THIRD INCIDENT: Fire damaged bike and van in Chapelhay, Weymouth

First published in News
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Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Trainee Reporter

A MOTORBIKE was destroyed and two vehicles were damaged in the latest in the series of early hours arson attacks in Weymouth.

Residents at Chapelhay reported hearing a loud bang as a fire started deliberately around a car spread to a motorbike and a van.

A Honda motorcycle was destroyed and a Vauxhall Corsa and a Volkswagen Transporter van were damaged. It is the third arson attack in the Chapelhay and Rodwell areas in less than a fortnight involving motorcycles.

A further incident in the same area in March saw a house damaged in a suspicious fire.

Police are investigating – but have yet to confirm whether the crimes are linked.

The incident at Chapelhay Street early yesterday came just before a series of weekend strikes by firefighters when emergency resources across Dorset will be stretched.

Weymouth East councillor John Birtwistle said area had a low crime rate generally and it was ‘disturbing’ to hear about the incidents.

He added: “It is seriously worrying if these are linked attacks.

“I would urge anyone who knows anything about these incidents to contact the police immediately so they can track down who’s doing this.”

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said a crew attended Chapelhay Street just after 2am to find a motorcycle and car on fire.

No one was using either vehicle at the time.

A red Vauxhall Corsa, registered to a man from Southam, Warwickshire, was the source of the fire. The fire spread to a Weymouth man’s Honda motorcycle and was destroyed.

Fire damage was caused to the engine department of the Vauxhall, whilst heat and smoke damage affected the driver and passenger compartments.

A Dorchester man’s Volkswagen Transporter van parked nearby suffered heat damage.

A local resident said she was concerned for other drivers and wanted those responsible to be found.

She said: “It’s absolutely stupid. It’s never happened up here to my knowledge and I’ve lived here for 27 years.

“I don’t want them to think they can get away it. It’s not right.”

Kelly Forrest, 34, said the emergency services woke her children up.

She said: “The lights flashed through my window.

“We just told the children they were just checking everything was all right.”

Witnesses and anyone with information about the fire can contact Dorset Police in confidence on 101 quoting incident reference 21-2nd.

Spate of attacks

POLICE and firefighters have been called to a series of suspicious fires in the Rodwell and Chapelhay areas in recent weeks.

A house in Chapelhay Street was targeted in an arson attack on March 24. The property was thought to be empty at the time but there were initial fears people were trapped inside, prompting rescuers to break in.

Two motorbikes parked in James Street were destroyed in an attack early on April 22. The fire also affected an Audi A4 nearby. The motorbikes, a black Triumph Street Triple and a black KSR Motorworks, were valued at a combined £7,000, and there was £3,000 worth of damage to the car.

Owners of the bikes, Andrea Charters and Keith Jones, put up a £500 reward.

A few days later, a moped was destroyed in the early hours in a fire underneath a bridge on the Rodwell Trail.

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