Thetford estate is struck by arson – again

Sussex Police
Sussex Police
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Police have stepped up patrols on Thetford’s Abbey Estate after two cars were torched in the street on Sunday night.

Up to 12 people are thought to have pushed two vehicles into the middle of Canterbury Way and set them alight at about 10.50pm.

Residents in Gloucester Way, Canterbury Way and Guildford Way made multiple calls to the fire service.

It took three fire crews almost an hour to tackle the blaze, which is the latest in a string of deliberate fires on the Abbey Estate this year.

Cllr Mike Brindle, who represents the estate on the town council, said an increase in anti-social behaviour was a ‘worrying trend’ and residents were concerned about what the arsonists might do next.

“It might start with a tyre or a car but people are worried it might go a stage further,” he said.

Cllr Jane Bishop, district councillor for the area, said: “I’m really angry about this because we’re working very hard with the local residents to change the image of the Abbey Estate.

“It’s had such a bad reputation and is a fabulous place to be – there are a lot of really good people living there.

“It’s mindless idiots, thugs, that are causing this stupid behaviour and there’s no excuse for it, none whatsoever.”

She said people living on the estate needed to start ‘naming and shaming’ if they had any idea who was responsible.

Cllr Brindle said police were ‘on the case’ and ‘doing everything they can to nip it in the bud before it gets any worse’.

Chief Inspector Paul Wheatley, from Breckland, said: “We have had 10 recorded incidents of arson since January of this year in the area of the Abbey Estate. These have included bin fires and several cars which were targeted in April.

“This kind of anti-social behaviour takes time to stop, however, we will continue to concentrate on those we believe are committing anti-social behaviour in the area.

“We will work closely with our partner agencies, particularly Flagship Housing and Breckland, and if offenders are caught this may lead to prosecutions and possibly future evictions.”

Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area around the time of the arson or has any information should call Breckland’s Operational Partnership Team on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously if required, on 0800 555111.

According to Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service logs, there have been six other deliberate vehicle fires on the estate this year, in Gloucester Way on February 8 and May 11, Canterbury Way on March 1 and May 10, Edinburgh Way on May 4 and Exeter Way on April 6.