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Serial arsonist theatens police officer

Third hit on arsonist's list
Third hit on arsonist's list

by Anna White

The hunt for a serial arsonist has been stepped up after a threat was made towards a police officer.

Officers are treating the menacing message from the self-proclaimed arsonist seriously and working with fire investigators to find the offender.

The suspect claims to be responsible for a spate of fires in and around Maidstone and has now threatened to target the home of a named officer working on the case.

The threat was sent in a second email to the Kent Messenger, at 11.48pm last Thursday.

The emailer also reiterated a promise made in the first message, to target our office unless we assign him or her a tag name.

Computer specialists are examining the emails.

Those working on the case include Mid Kent Police, Kent and Essex serious crime squad, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), Maidstone council and Neighbourhood Watch.

Police officers have been knocking on doors and talking to people in the community to help reassure them.

Supt Andrew Rabey said: “We are keeping an open mind about the motive.

Fire at Hugh Robertson's office in Lenham
Fire at Hugh Robertson's office in Lenham

“What is clear, however, is that someone knows the arsonist, whether it’s a parent, partner, friend or colleague.

“Maybe someone you know has come home smelling of smoke and has been evasive when you’ve asked them about it.

Number one left outside the burnt-out Iionmongers
Number one left outside the burnt-out Iionmongers

“Even if you have the slightest suspicion that you know who the arsonist is, we want to hear from you.”

A fire thought to have been started deliberately in an outbuilding in Bell Lane, Smarden, on Wednesday, at 4am, has been ruled out of the case.

Bell Lane is less than three miles away from the arsonist’s fourth claim – a fire in sheds at the back of Oldfield’s Newagents in Headcorn High Street.

The emailer also claims to be responsible for fires at:

  • The office of Mid Kent and Faversham MP, Hugh Robertson, in Faversham Road, Lenham, and the ironmongers below it
  • The Murco petrol station, Heath Road, Boughton Monchelsea
    uE06E Bathrooms and Kitchens Ltd at Warmlake Businesses Estate, Sutton Valence
  • Wents Service Station, in Ulcombe Hill. This was the last target, overnight on Saturday, January 29.

The attacks have been linked by yellow sequential numbers painted outside the charred buildings. The emailer says this is to keep track of his or her’s 'art’.

  • Anyone with information is asked to phone the police on 01622 690690 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.
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