Vandals strike in spate of arson incidents in Littlehampton

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A series of arson attacks in Littlehampton has led to calls for CCTV from business owners.

Commercial rubbish bins and a car have been burnt in at least three incidents in the town centre, the latest of which was on Monday, March 14.

Vandals torched a bin outside the Fish Factory restaurant, East Street, at about 6.30pm, leaving staff to tackle the blaze with a fire extinguisher and buckets of water.

Business owner Andy Sparsis warned that the fumes from the plastic bins were toxic and a danger to the two young families living above the restaurant.

“When you set light to a commercial bin there’s chemicals in there, we use certain cleaners, there’s glass, there’s plastic. Potentially it’s like a bomb,” he said.

“It’s got to a critical point where it’s become a risk to human life and we have got to do something about it.”

He called for the community to take pride in their town, ‘pull together’ and be vigilant.

Staff at the Fish Factory said the fire brigade arrived within minutes and soaked the remaining bins as a precaution, but more needs to be done.

Manager Karen Warland said: “I think we need at the very least CCTV round there. Metal bins would be good instead of plastic ones, that would be a big deterrent if you know it’s going to be controlled within the bin.”

In the first incident around a month ago, vandals set light to a bin outside Chicken Cottage, which in turn set a nearby Renault Clio on fire.

Both the car and the bin were completely burnt out and both have since been removed.

Fish Factory chef Alberto Castro said he saw fire crews attending another incident near Costa coffee shop on Friday 11.

He said: “It is just scary that somebody can do this thing. The police need to be doing something about it.”

A spokesperson for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: “Some people might consider setting light to things like bins like horse play, but it is a crime, it’s extremely dangerous, it can put property and lives at risk.

“We would encourage anyone who sees someone setting light to bins to report it to Sussex Police.”

Inspector Marc Clothier of Sussex Police said: “We are aware that there have been a number of deliberate fires in Littlehampton and we have reviewed the current information concerning times and locations in conjunction with West Sussex Fire and Rescue in order to deploy local teams to prevent further offences and identify suspects.”

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