Melton was left reeling this week from just the latest in a catalogue of terrifying arson attacks which have devastated the lives of residents and destroyed cars, buildings and caravans.
Over the last two years, the town’s firefighters have been called out to deal with a succession of frightening incidents, several involving multiple vehicles being set alight in nearby streets just a few minutes apart.
Crews were out yet again in the early hours of Saturday following reports of an Audi Q2 being ablaze in Hadfield Drive, and then just nine minutes later came word of another car fire, this time involving a Toyota Yaris parked on Balmoral Road.
The fires were so intense that firefighters were tied up at both locations, requiring Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service to deploy another crew from outside Melton to temporarily provide fire cover.
Residents have taken to social media over the last few days to voice their disgust at the catalogue of arson incidents and demanding that police arrest the culprits.
Sandra Groves commented on our Facebook page: “What the hell is going on with these mindless morons in Melton, someone is going to get hurt before long.”
Ryan Burgoine posted: “How long will it be before cars simply aren’t giving them the ‘kick’ they need and they are looking for something else to set ablaze?”
Sgt Iain Wakelam, deputy commander for the Melton neighbourhood police service, said: “We are aware that there have been reports similar to this occurring in Melton and our investigations are continuing.
“I would ask that communities remain vigilant and – if anyone believes they have information relating to any incident at any time – to get in touch with us.
“It’s never too late to make a report or pass information on to us.”
Police have called on the public to help them catch the arsonists responsible for the latest attacks by sending them any CCTV footage they may have of the areas around the time the cars were set alight.
Pc Michael Sanders, who is investigating the latest incidents for Leicestershire Police, said: “Based on the proximity of each incident to one another, and the short period of time between the reports, I believe that the fires are linked.
“They were both started deliberately and our enquiries are continuing.
“However, I would urge anyone who lives in either Hadfield Drive or Balmoral Road and has CCTV cameras installed at their property to check the footage.
“Likewise, I’d like to speak to anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“Was there anything that woke you up? Did you see anyone leaving the area?
“Any information you have – no matter how insignificant you think it may be – could help with my investigation.”
The Hadfield Drive fire, which was reported at 1.45am, spread down the street and damaged two other vehicles – a Volkswagen Golf and a Mini - as well as causing a small amount of damage to a house. The Balmoral Road attack happened shortly before 2am.
James Marman, who was incident commander for the second car fire, told the Melton Times: “On arrival it was clear that we had a significant fire involving a Toyota Yaris.
“The owner had had this car from new and it was 17-years-old.
“Both calls were only 10 minutes apart and whilst these incidents were happening a crew had to come over to Melton to cover.”
No arrests have so far been made following the arson incidents.
Call police on 101, quoting crime reference 19*350481 (Hadfield Drive) or 19*350488 (Balmoral Road), if you have information or CCTV footage from the area.
Serious arson incidents in Melton over the last two years:
July 6: Cars were set alight in Hadfield Drive and Balmoral Road just nine minutes apart in the early hours of the morning.
June 23: Five crews of firefighters spent several hours battling a blaze which was started deliberately in a disused factory building in Stanley Street - four teenagers were arrested on suspicion of arson and released on police bail pending further enquiries.
March 18: Six caravans were destroyed in a fire started deliberately on a campsite off Sandy Lane, in an incident described by police as a hate crime.
February 2: The Nairn family on Drummond Walk had their car destroyed by fire in an arson attack.
October 6: Firefighters responded to a car fire in Dieppe Way and while there they were called to another in nearby Bramley Close. Fire investigators said both of these incidents were started deliberately.
August 11: Arsonists set fire to a car in The Crescent and another a few streets away in Drummond Walk just five minutes later.
June 27: Firefighters fought a large blaze which was started deliberately in a field behind Buttermere Close - a senior fire officer said the incident left the town short of fire cover while it was brought under control.
July 8: Arson attacks on the Fairmead Estate - a car was set on fire on Harlech Walk, with two adjacent vehicles also suffering severe fire damage, and a shed was burned down in Blenheim Walk all in the early hours.
July 1: Arsonists go on the rampage on the Fairmead Estate damaging six vehicles in a 40-minute period.
Firefighters had to deal with successive incidents in Dieppe Way and Drummond Walk a few minutes apart.