ARSONISTS are putting lives at risk, police have warned.
Since the beginning of the year there has been a huge upsurge in arson attacks in Worksop.
So far this year 15 cars have been torched –FIVE times as many as in the same period last year – and there have been 31 other arson incidents.
This week police offered a £1,000 reward to help catch those responsible.
Bassetlaw Det Insp Ash Wilson condemned the actions of ‘thrill-seeking’ arsonists who are endangering innocent people’s lives.
“I cannot over-emphasise the danger of it. Some of these cars have been parked in driveways - it only takes a gust of wind to catch a house and we would have a real tragedy on our hands,” he said.
“I don’t believe the people doing this are getting any material gain from this.”
He added: “My real concern is they’re doing it because they get some perverse kick out of it, but don’t realise the consequences of their actions.”
“We are putting on extra patrols in the area and we will pursue the offenders vigorously to bring them to justice.”
“The decision to offer a reward, leading to the arrest and conviction for those responsible was a partnership one with other agencies, and shows how seriously we are taking this.”
There have been 15 car fires since the beginning of the year - mainly in the Manton and Worksop town centre areas.
Manton resident Grace Smith, 51, of Kingston Road, had her car destroyed by arsonists in the early hours of 29th February.
“My husband and I were sleeping when we heard a loud bang around 2.55am and awoke to see a bright glow,” she said.
“I rushed to the window and saw my Ford Mondeo was completely in flames, and later noticed another car further down the street had also been torched.”
She added: “I dread to think what could have happened. I was just in tears - I couldn’t believe that someone had done something like this - how would they feel if it happened to someone in their family?”
Grace is still without a car which she said is a massive inconvenience, having to rely on lifts from her family.
“We couldn’t even get a courtesy car because it was classed as a malicious incident, and it’s taken a long time to sort things out with the insurance company,” she said.
“First we had wheelie bin fires and the community centre torched on this road, and now cars. These people need to be caught.
Fire station manager for Bassetlaw West Dick Dawson said arsonists were also putting themselves at risk as well as other people.
“The potential for a fire in a car to spread, either to a property or other structure, is great and this could cause thousands of pounds worth of damage as well as putting the lives of householders and our firefighters in grave danger. There is also the possibility of the car igniting quickly, causing injury to those setting the fire,” he said.
“It is also worth considering that while our fire crews are attending deliberately started fires such as these, they are unavailable to attend other emergencies where lives may be a risk.”
Anyone with any information about the incidents should contact Worksop Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.