Dorset town ‘like a war zone’ after 12 vehicles burned overnight

A Dorset town has been described by residents as “like a war zone” after arsonists torched a dozen cars in the early hours of Monday.

Police and fire crews were called out to blazes across the Broadstone, Wimborne and Merley areas, as the wave of arson unfolded between 1am and 3am.

Dorset Police has launched an investigation in a bid to “identify those responsible” for the fires, which officers said affected 12 vehicles and one building.

The burnt-out wreck of one of the cars targeted in the spree (PA)
The burnt-out wreck of one of the cars targeted in the spree (PA)

Grant Stewart, 33, a builder from the town of Ferndown, described the scene as a “war zone” with people running around in a panic and cars “banging”.

“I was woken up by a bang and thought it was a car crash, looked out the window to see an orange glow and people running around,” said Mr Stewart.

“One person comes running to the scene to wake up one of the owners of the car and their car was on fire.

“I went out to find it was like a war zone with three cars ablaze and bangs going off.”

Chloe Torring, 25, a hairdresser from Wimborne, said she is “gutted” after the car she bought just five months ago was destroyed in one of the fires.

A photo provided by Chloe Torring of her car and another person’s van, both on fire (PA)
A photo provided by Chloe Torring of her car and another person’s van, both on fire (PA)

“I was woken up by my neighbour ringing my doorbell to tell me my car is on fire,” she said. “I was in complete shock and disbelief.”

“It’s heart-wrenching to think someone would do such a horrible thing, for no good reason.

“My car is completely destroyed. The engine is on the floor, I have no front half of my car – there’s just charcoal inside.”

Detective Sergeant Simon Austin, of County CID, said: “These incidents have affected a large number of victims in the wider Wimborne area and we are aware that this will cause concern.

“I would like to reassure our local communities that officers are currently investigating all reported incidents and are making every effort to identify those responsible.

People will see visible police activity as officers are making house-to-house and CCTV enquiries.”

Officers are appealing for any witnesses of the incidents or anyone who has seen suspicious activity to come forward, and urging anyone who may have CCTV or dashcam footage to check their cameras.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We have attended multiple vehicle fires in the Wimborne area between midnight and 2.30am this morning (May 15).

“We are supporting our police colleagues with their investigation.”