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24 October 2013, 13:26
Cambridgeshire Police have launched a dedicated operation into arson attacks, after a spate of fires in Peterborough.
Officers from the Serious Crime Team in Peterborough are teaming up with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service to launch Operation Woodcote to tackle arson in Paston and Gunthorpe area.
There have been 27 deliberate fires reported in the area with 14 reported in Swale Avenue since April.
The latest two were wheelie bin fires on Monday night.
The fires have generally been started between midnight and 3am and wheelie bins are being targeted.
Detective Sergeant Gordon Blair, leading the operation, said: "While I'm keeping an open mind as to whether any of these incidents are linked, my team and I will be looking into all the arsons that have been reported in the area.
Any person found committing arson will be dealt with.
These fires are extremely dangerous and it is lucky that they have not caused more serious damage or injury.
We will be increasing patrols in the area, working with our Crime Scene Investigators team for forensic opportunities and speaking to victims and witnesses to try and trace who is responsible.
I'm keen to hear from anyone who knows anything about these crimes."
Martin Boome, Arson Liaison Officer at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Sadly, we have seen a number of deliberate fires occur in the Gunthorpe area in recent weeks and the fire service is working hard with the police to try and combat these problems.
Arson is a very serious crime, which can hold a lengthy prison sentence.
What some arsonists do not realise is that fire spreads quickly and setting fire to a wheelie bin outside a house, can put at risk the lives of those people inside the property.
We would urge all householders to make sure their wheelie bins are put away securely and emptied regularly.
Most importantly, make sure you have a correctly fitted and regularly tested working smoke alarm on every floor of your property."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Serious Crime Team in Peterborough on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.