Lincolnshire Police has enhanced patrols in the area after a spate of suspected arson attacks and vandalism in Gainsborough, which is causing growing concern for residents and local businesses.
There have been at least six incidents over the last fortnight, including vehicle fires on Sandsfield Lane and deliberate blazes at a local car firm on Trinity Street, nine trailers in Hemswell Cliff, and an agricultural premises.
A woman was arrested after a house on Stanley Street in Gainsborough was destroyed by fire.
Emergency services in Lincolnshire are warning that deliberate fires and other anti-social behaviour incidents are treated very seriously.
West Lindsey District Council is also supporting police with their investigations, but it is not yet known whether or not the incidents are linked.
Donna Dukes told The Lincolnite her husband Pete’s Seat Ibiza car was set on fire overnight between April 9 and 10. The car was completely written off so they got a new car – a Mini – but along with various others down Sandsfield Lane, it was spray painted twice on two different nights.
Donna said: “It feels like a very dangerous road to live down. Myself and all of my neighbours are on edge and can not relax or get any sleep as we are constantly worried about what is next.”
A van used by mental health charity Bearded Fishermen was destroyed on the same street during the evening of Tuesday, April 20.
The passenger side tire had blown out, the radiator and engine were destroyed, the main windscreen was completely shattered and the dashboard had completely melted.
Autohub on Trinity Street in Gainsborough was also the victim of a suspected arson attack on the night of April 21.
Autohub said in a Facebook post, which has since been deleted,: “The team were made aware of a number of vehicles, currently displayed for sale, that had been damaged and this morning (Thursday) the extent of the damage was clear to see.
“After opening last year, the Autohub team have become to feel part of the local community and to see ourselves and others affected like this is upsetting.
“This criminal activity is never acceptable and it is even more disheartening when it comes at a time when we had re-opened after the latest national lockdown with great plans for our business and how we can be a positive influence in the local area.”
A woman in her 40s was arrested on suspicion of arson after a house on Stanley Street in Gainsborough was destroyed by fire on Monday, April 19. Sobering images showed scorched furniture, blackened rooms and smashed windows in the aftermath of the fire.
Police are also investigating an incident of suspected arson after nine articulated trailers containing plastic pellets caught fire in Hemswell Cliff near Gainsborough.
During the evening of April 21, Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue also attended an incident at an agricultural premises in Caenby Cliff, which is less than 20 minutes from Gainsborough.
The fire involved a shed and approximately 200 tonnes of baled straw, which is also being treated as suspected arson.
Inspector Gary Brockie, from Lincolnshire Police in West Lindsey, said: “Each incident is being investigated fully and these investigations remain ongoing.
“Neighbourhood officers are engaging with the local community looking to identify and explore every opportunity to identify and arrest the offenders.
“Enhanced patrols are ongoing within the area with support from our Specialist Operations Teams and we are working with colleagues from partner agencies such as Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and West Lindsey District to try and identify anyone involved.
“These offences not only have a huge impact upon the victims but they are clearly dangerous events which not only put the offenders at risk but others around them.
“We are appealing for anybody with any information to contact us to assist us so that we can prevent future incidents and more importantly prevent any person being injured.
“If you live locally and have CCTV fitted at your home or business or you have dash cams within your vehicles please check these for the relevant dates and contact us if you can assist our enquiries.”
Dan Moss, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s Area Manager for Prevention and Protection, said: “Dealing with these incidents ties up valuable fire and rescue resources and if a call for a life-threatening emergency had come in to us, we could have been delayed in attending because of the mindless actions of selfish people.
“Deliberate fire-setting is treated as a serious offence and investigated as such, with our crews working closely with Lincolnshire Police and other organisations to share information and tackle this.”
Grant White, Communities Manager at West Lindsey District Council, said: “We are supporting the police with their investigations and regularly review our public space CCTV cameras to help identify offenders and provide evidential footage.
“Our CCTV cameras continue to monitor public spaces with our CCTV Staff conducting regular patrols and working closely with local police.”
Anyone with information on these incidents should contact police on 101, via email at [email protected] or anonymously through Crimestoppers, quoting the following incident numbers:
- Seat Ibiza fire – incident 16 of April 10
- Bearded Fishermen van fire – incident 465 of April 20
- Hemswell Cliff fire – incident 35 of April 21
- Caenby Cliff fire – incident 422 of April 21
- Autohub fire – incident 18 of April 22