Police appeal over Ottery crimewave

VANDALS on a late night Ottery rampage wrecked cars then torched a caravan, suspect police probing three “unusual” incidents in one night.

VANDALS on a late night Ottery rampage wrecked cars then torched a caravan, suspect police probing three “unusual” incidents in one night.

Arson and criminal damage investigations are under way after hundreds of pounds of damage was inflicted on innocent residents’ vehicles while they slept.

Householders in Victoria Terrace were oblivious to an inferno that destroyed an abandoned caravan which burned out of control just feet from scores of petrol-filled parked cars. One early-bird resident got up to go to work to find his van virtually written off by the heat of the blaze.

Nearby, in the Land of Canaan car park, two vehicles belonging to the same household had windscreens smashed and shattered. Criminals searched both cars and left their doors open. Investigators said large chunks of timber left at the scene could have been used to cause the damage. Lumps of wood were also found near a car in Longdogs Lane that suffered a battered mudguard and nearside door.

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Police this week issued an appeal for witnesses and information over all three incidents, which they said took place between 7.30pm on Wednesday, February 23, and 6am on Thursday, February 24.

When firefighters arrived at Victoria Terrace at 4am on Thursday, February 24, the caravan, which had been dumped in the privately-owned car park, was completely destroyed.

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Window cleaner Kevin Tooze’s van, parked nearby, was badly damaged by heat which melted paintwork, lights and bumpers on one side.

He said: “I don’t know how the whole thing didn’t go up in flames. I’m just glad the petrol tank was on the other side as the heat would probably have blown it up. It’s very lucky.

“The heat even cracked my windscreen. The van was full of smoke in the morning. It’s probably a write-off.”

Police Sergeant Simon Tennant said the Victoria Terrace blaze was being treated as arson and added: “We’d find it hard to believe the incidents are not linked. They are very unusual for Ottery.”

Contact police with information on 08452 777444, crime reference: KO/11/107, or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.

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