Police have arested two 17 year-old men in connection with a series of car and property blazes in Bradley Stoke during the early hours of Friday morning.
The incidents began at 1:40am when a wheelie bin was set on fire in Saxon Way. Within the next hour three cars were set alight and other smaller fires started.
Police declined to issue further details, but investigations by The Journal have discovered fire-damaged cars in Winsbury Way, Stoke Meadows and The Beeches, which are all close to the Jubilee playing fields in the centre of the town.
The owner of the burnt-out car in The Beeches told The Journal that he had been woken by the vehicle’s alarm going off at 2am. He explained that the car’s handbrake had failed during the fire, allowing the blazing vehicle to roll down the drive – leading to the door and windows of the property also being damaged by the fire.
The fire service was called and arrived within ten minutes, but the car could not be saved. As the car blaze was fought, a further fire was reported in a summerhouse elsewhere in The Beeches.
Agents from the fire service’s Arson Task Force were carrying out investigations in Stoke Meadows at midday on Friday, where a partially burnt-out vehicle was seen parked on the drive of a house at the far end of the road.
A fire-damaged car was also spotted In nearby Winsbury Way. A pile of rubbish, possibly used to start the blaze, could be seen underneath the rear of the vehicle.
Police say they deployed a large number of officers to the area during the incidents. The helicopter of the Western Counties Air Operation Unit was also involved from 2:30am onwards.
The two men were arrested just after 3am and were detained for questioning later on Friday.
Superintendent Tony Oliver of Avon & Somerset Police said:
“We saturated the area with as many resources as we could.”
“We effectively put a cordon around Bradley Stoke and then gradually closed it in. ”
“Incidents like this in Bradley Stoke are exceptionally rare, and I hope local residents will feel reassured by the robust police response, leading to the arrests.”
“Police Community Support Officers will be carrying out additional high-profile patrols in the area today [Friday] to provide further reassurance to the local community.”
The issue of anti-social behaviour in the Saxon Way area was raised at the February meeting of the Bradley Stoke Safer & Stronger Community Group. A resident reported that there had been several incidents of vandalism in the early hours and said there was “a feeling of fear” in the neighbourhood. A police representative encouraged residents to call them “at an early stage [of any incident]” but added that “demands are elsewhere” on Friday and Saturday nights.
The police have asked anyone with information about Friday’s incidents to contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111. You do not have to give your name and you could receive a reward.
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