Residents suspect arson attacks after spate of Southgate blazes

jpco 28-1-15 Southgate residents and Councillors suspect arsonists are at large (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150126-130409001
jpco 28-1-15 Southgate residents and Councillors suspect arsonists are at large (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150126-130409001

Residents have expressed anxiety over a series of fires.

Sussex Police will address the concerns at a meeting of Southgate Community Forum next Saturday (February 7).

Cllr Mike Pickett (Lab, Southgate) said residents suspected arsonists had been targeting the Clitherow Gardens area.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) was called to Clitherow Gardens at 9.09pm on January 8, Rosemead Gardens at 1am on October 30 2014, Richmond Court at 2.19am on June 1 2014 and Rosemead Gardens at 3.42am on April 27 2014.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said investigations into the suspected arsons on June 1 and October 30 ended after no further lines of enquiry into the fires were found.

Officers were working with WSFRS to establish if the garage fire on January 8 was deliberate. A policespokesman said no forensic examination was carried out on it because the fire service had not flagged it as suspicious.

Cllr Pickett said: “Four fires take place in about 12 months - surely that would arouse anyone’s suspicions.

“If there was a fire which was suspected to be arson you would think there would be a forensic examination but there hasn’t been.”

The fire on June 1 destroyed a Suzuki Carry Van, a block of garages and two wheelie bins.

A childs’ slide and bin were set on fire in Rosemead Gardens’s garage block on October 30.

The police spokesman said: “Fire and police both attended the scene and during the investigation CCTV was viewed.

“The images did not capture the offences and it was not good enough quality to identify the person seen.

“Two items found in the bin were seized as part of the investigation, but have not yielded any further clues to the culprit.”

The WSFRS spokesman said records of the incident on October 30 and the cause of the fire on June 1 were missing.

The bin fire in a storage unit in April was listed as accidental.

The forum meeting will be held at St Mary’s Church Hall, Wakehurst Drive, Southgate, at 2pm.

Inspector Rachel Carr, the head of community policing for Crawley, will attend.

Crawley MP Henry Smith will also answer questions.