Police investigating overnight arsons
"Police News Alert Issued *** 12pm 23 January
Police are investigating three suspicious fires which occurred in the Mairehau, Linwood and Richmond areas overnight.
At around 7.40pm last night emergency services were called to a fire in an abandoned house on Shirley Road, Mairehau.
The second incident was a fire at a block of unoccupied flats in Stanmore Road, which was reported to emergency services around 5.40am today.
At 6.15am a shed fire was reported at an address in River Road, Richmond.
Detective Inspector Greg Murton says the fires are being treated as suspicious. Police have attended all three scenes and are investigating, including enquiries into any possible connections between the incidents.
"There have been a number of similar fires in the area over the past months and police resources are being focused on these fires and apprehending the offenders," he says.
"Police patrols are being increased in this and other Red Zone areas. There is a risk that a fire may be lit in an abandoned property in which someone is squatting who may become a victim of that deliberately lit fire.
"Anyone identified as having deliberately lit a fire in any property will face prosecution, the penalty for which is a maximum of 14 years imprisonment."
Detective Inspector Murton says Police urge residents to remain vigilant about suspicious activity in and around abandoned properties and to call the Police if any such activity is noticed.
Anyone with any information about the overnight fires is asked to contact Christchurch police on (03) 3637400.
Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.