Police keen to get drop on arsons

BLANTON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 10/06/2014

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A special police team has been set up to investigate two arson attacks at the weekend.

The New Plymouth Pistol Club was deliberately set alight early on Sunday morning and Barrett Street Hospital was targeted on Sunday night.

New Plymouth Detective Sergeant Drew Bennett said police and fire safety officers had carried out scene investigations and were awaiting the results of forensic testing.

Bennett said a team of four officers was working on the investigation.

"At this point there is no obvious connection between [the fires]," Bennett said.

Fire safety officers had provided an idea of the cause and origin of both fires.

Sergeant Bruce Irvine said the worry was that the arson attacks could escalate and someone could get hurt.

Bennett said he wanted to hear from anyone who had any information about the fires.

"Anyone that was driving along the highway near Big Jim's or De Havilland Drive between 2am to 4am or in and around Barrett St between 8pm and 11pm.

"We want to know about vehicles or people walking around these areas."

Firefighters were called to the pistol club, on Devon Rd, about 3.15am on Sunday.

Furniture, photos, trophies, appliances and memorabilia were damaged in the blaze.

The clubrooms were burnt down in a similar attack 10 years ago.

Bennett said several fires had been lit at the abandoned Barrett Street Hospital but failed to take hold.

Firefighters were called to the hospital's main building about 9.45pm on Sunday and quickly put out the fires, he said.

New Plymouth police can be contacted on 06 759 5500, alternatively anonymous information can be left with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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