Arsonist sought before lives are threatened
A serial arsonist is thought to be targeting commercial properties in the Exmouth area, starting fires outside buildings in the middle of the night.
Police say they need to catch the suspect: “before lives, as well as livelihoods, are threatened”.
Five fires over the last fortnight have targeted the bins of commercial premises.
The most recent fire occurred at around 2.20am on Monday 13 July, at Exmouth Pavilion on the Esplanade. Police believe an accelerant was used.
And at around 3am on Saturday 11 July, the bins at Budleigh Salterton Football Club were set on fire.
On Wednesday 7 July, several thousand pounds worth of damage was caused to the Bumble and Bee Café in the Manor Gardens, Exmouth, after a fire spread to the building.
All the fires started between midnight and 5am.
Officers will continue to conduct door-to-door enquiries in the affected areas and are urging businesses to be vigilant.
Police would like to hear from anyone who may have any information which could assist their enquiries, including those with potentially relevant CCTV footage.
Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Tim Hegarty from Exmouth CID, said: “So far, these fires have caused damage to people’s business premises, at times causing a lot of financial damage, anguish and inconvenience.
“Times are hard enough for businesses who are getting ready for what should be the tourist season – we want to find the person, or people, responsible, before a tragedy happens and lives are threatened in addition to people’s livelihoods.
“We would like to hear from people who have witnessed any suspicious activity, or have concerns about any person they may know who has, for example, come home smelling of fire, or has developed a fascination with fire or the emergency services.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 or via email at email@example.com quoting log number 99, 13/7/20.