South Scotland

Dumfries shop fires and vandalism under investigation

Palmerston Cafe sign
Image caption Two canopies were set on fire at the Palmerston Café on Glasgow Street

Police are investigating a spate of suspicious fires and vandalism at three shops in southern Scotland.

Two Italian businesses and a Polish delicatessen in Dumfries were targeted shortly after 04:00.

Overhead canopies were set alight at two of the sites and a window smashed at another.

Police said the consequences of the fires could have been "catastrophic" and said they were keeping an open mind on any motive.

Two overhead canopies at the Palmerston Cafe on Glasgow Street were reported on fire at about 04:05.

About 15 minutes later a similar incident occurred at the Polish delicatessen in St Michael Street.

A window was also smashed at the Benvenuto Takeaway on Eastfield Road, where two nearby delivery vans were also targeted.

'Serious crimes'

It appeared an attempt had also been made to set fire to one of the vehicles.

PC David Steele said: "Although inquiries are at an early stage it does seem that these crimes may well be linked and we are carrying out door-to-door inquiries and reviewing CCTV footage at this time."

He said officers wanted to trace a man who was seen at the Palmerston Cafe around the time the fire started.

He was wearing a baseball cap with a logo, over-ear earphones, dark trousers, a long-sleeved top and trainers, and was carrying a rucksack.

"These are serious crimes and the consequences could have been catastrophic had any of these fires taken hold to the actual buildings," he added.

Sgt Graeme Stitt said they were still trying to establish a motive for the incidents.

"We are ruling nothing out," he said.

"They are all takeaway shops of some description so we are not quite sure of the motivation at this time. We are keeping an open mind."

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