Police hunt Sunderland firestarter as more cars are torched

Burnt out car in Galashiels Road, Grindon, Sunderland.
Burnt out car in Galashiels Road, Grindon, Sunderland.
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A FIREBUG has left Wearsiders in fear after a series of cars were torched.

A further four vehicles were targeted during the latest blaze rampage over the weekend.

In the early hours of Saturday, Grindon residents in The Broadway, Goodwood Road and Godfrey Road, woke to find their cars had been set alight.

City fire crews had to call in help from other stations.

A Vauxhall Vectra and Peugeot van in The Broadway were hit just before 5am, and a Renault Clio at Godfrey Road was completely burnt out at about 5.45am.

Just minutes later a Ford Ka was hit at nearby Goodwood Road.

At 6am, a Ford Transit van was set alight in Wear Street, South Hylton, but police are not linking these to the Grindon fires.

Officers remained at the scene throughout Saturday and forensics officers gathered evidence.

The attacks, just days after at least a further five cars were burnt out across Grindon, has sparked fear in the area.

“My car is parked on the road at the front of the house,” said Shirley McMann, 68. “There’s no way I’m leaving it here at the moment.

“I’ve taken it to my sisters up in Farringdon. Hopefully it will be safe there.

“I think that’s what a lot of people are doing.”

Bobby Doorden, 40, added: “It is worrying, especially after the other ones.

“We’ve heard there’s been 13 car fires in the area so far.

“It sounds as if some idiots are going round setting fire to cars. Where’s the fun in that?

“It’s idiotic, dangerous and expensive for the owners.”

Sunderland police said “extensive” enquiries are under way to trace suspects.

“We fully understand incidents such as this cause concern to local residents,” said Chief Inspector Richie Jackson.

“And I’d like to reassure them we are doing everything possible to investigate these crimes.

“Residents will notice a high profile policing presence in the area.

“There is a dedicated team of detectives investigating these fires and opportunities around CCTV and forensics are being explored.

“It’s vital residents let us know if they see or hear anything suspicious so we can investigate at the earliest opportunity.”

Between midnight and 3.30am last Thursday, fire crews were called to separate car blazes in Gleneagles Road, Gilbert Road and Greenwood Road.

A 28-year-old man was arrested and bailed pending further investigations.

On Tuesday, residents in Aston Square, Farringdon, woke to find vandals had scratched the sides of five cars, causing hundreds of pounds of damage.

In a separate incident on Saturday, firefighters and police were called to a car fire in Wilden Road, Pattinson Industrial Estate, Washington, at around 11.50pm.

No one was in the car and no one was injured. The car was so badly damaged police were unable to identify the make and model.

It is not known whether it was stolen. Investigations are ongoing.

Anyone with information should call police on 03456 043 043, extension 69191, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Twitter: @sunechocrime