Three arrested over arson attacks on Maidstone firms

Image caption,
A fire last October destroyed Lenham Ironmongers and the Faversham MP's office

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of carrying out five arson attacks in Kent.

Five firms, within an eight-mile radius of each other in the Maidstone area, have been set alight since October.

No-one has been injured in the attacks which included the offices of MP Hugh Robertson in Lenham.

Kent Police said a 19-year-old-man, a man aged 22 and a 34-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of arson on Thursday.

Each of the buildings had been daubed with a yellow painted number in a circle to signify the order of the attacks.

Threats to police

The first was on 28 October, when a blaze damaged a shop and the offices of MP Hugh Robertson in Lenham.

The most recent fire was on 30 January, when a garage in Headcorn was targeted and the number five daubed on the building.

The three other arson attacks were at a garage in Boughton Monchelsea on 29 December; Warmlake on 28 January, when a bathroom and kitchen showroom was targeted, and on 29 January at a garage in Ulcombe.

The hunt for the people responsible for the attacks were stepped up after threats were made to a police officer via an e-mail to the Kent Messenger newspaper.

Ch Supt Matthew Nix said: "Although this investigation is ongoing and still in its early stages, I would like to thank the Kent Messenger Maidstone for their continued assistance with this case.

"Their community spirited actions are a shining example of police and public working together."

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