Police hunt suspicious teen cyclist after night of destruction in village
A SUSPICIOUS teenage cyclist is being sought as police probe a spate of vandalism and arson attacks which brought “distress” to Burton residents on Saturday night.
Rocks were thrown through car and home windows and one property was deliberately set alight in the latest of a series of disturbances that have plagued the village’s streets in recent weeks. No injuries were reported.
Detectives are investigating four incidents said to have taken place between 7pm and 9.30pm on Saturday.
Shortly after 7.30pm there was a call-out after a vehicle’s windscreen and rear window had been smashed, along with a side window, while parked in Martins Hill Lane. A rock was said to have been found inside.
Just over half an hour later, police received reports an object had been hurled through the window of a property in the same road.
Shortly afterwards, another vehicle parked in the street was found to be in flames.
Firefighters also responded to a call-out around 8.25pm, reporting a blaze in the ground floor of a home in Summers Lane, which is believed to have been started deliberately.
Crews from Christchurch and Redhill Park contained the emergency within an hour.
As part of their investigation, detectives are probing reports a suspicious white male teenager, wearing a hooded top and riding a bicycle, had been seen in the area.
DC Luke Davis, of Bournemouth CID, said: “These incidents have understandably caused concern and distress for residents and I would like to reassure everyone that a thorough investigation is underway.
“I am extremely thankful that nobody was injured during any of these incidents.
“I am appealing to anyone who was in the area and witnessed any suspicious activity, or who recognises the male teenager from the description provided, to please get in touch.”
He added: “I would urge residents to please check their home CCTV systems between 7pm and 9.30pm on Saturday 20th March 2021 for any relevant footage to assist my enquiries.”
DC Davis pledged there would be increased patrols of the area as he encouraged people to report any concerns to their local neighbourhood policing team.
Saturday’s incidents followed a string of similar vandalism and arson attacks which have taken place in the village in recent weeks.
These included a pensioner’s mobility scooter being set alight in Avon View Road during the previous weekend, with flames spreading to a block of flats.
Burton & Winkton parish councillor David Flagg, who is also a BCP Council village ward member, branded the repeated acts of arson and vandalism “unacceptable”.
“Clearly, residents have spoken to me and are concerned about their welfare and, obviously, what’s happened is not acceptable,” Cllr Flagg told the A&T.
“I’ve lived here for 40 years, and we’ve suffered minor incidents over the years, but personally I think this one’s over-stepping the mark. Setting light to other people’s properties is simply not acceptable.”
Officers are also probing vandalism to a home’s glass door panel and two windows, along with a window being smashed on a car parked outside, off Campbell Road around 1.20am last Monday.
Anyone with information should contact Dorset Police on 101, quoting crime reference number 55210044694 for Saturday’s incidents or 55210041100 for last Monday’s vandalism. Crimestoppers can also be called anonymously on 0800 555 111.