Fears grow as seventh suspicious fire in one month blazes at Oakwood Sports Centre in Horley
Surrey Police is investigating following a suspicious fire at Oakwood Sports Centre in Horley on Sunday night.
Much to the worry of locals, this is the seventh fire in the Horley and Reigate area within the month. All but two of the fires have taken place at sports club premises.
The first fire took place at Horley Lawn Tennis Club on June 22. It was followed by fires at Churchfields Bowls Club (June 26), Old Reigatian Rugby Club (June 28 and July 12), Massetts Road, Horley (July 2), Reigate Town Hall (July 11) and Oakwood Sports Centre (July 21).
"It seems to me, these fires must surely be linked" said Reigate resident Mimi Harrison. "It's just too much of a coincidence. It's so distressing that a mystery fire starter is running riot in Surrey. We need to catch him before anyone gets seriously hurt."
Last week, some of the fires were being treated as suspected arson. Heartbreakingly for members of Horley Lawn Tennis Club, the building had been newly constructed following four years of local fundraising and was near to completion before the fire.
Surrey Police are investigating the possibility that the fires are linked.
A 43-year-old man from Epsom was arrested on July 5 in connection with the fires, and was released on bail until August 21.
"We are in the process of carrying out a thorough investigating into the fire alongside the fire service. At this stage we are keeping an open mind as to whether it links with the other suspicious fires we have had in the area,” said Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Antony Archibald.
"It is extremely important that anyone who was in the Balcombe Road area or who saw anything unusual from 10pm yesterday until around 6am today to get in touch with us.
“We would also like the public to think about whether they know anybody that has been going out late at night, and returning home in the early hours of the morning possibly smelling of smoke, or accelerants."
Detective Sergeant Stuart Underwood, from Reigate CID, added: "I would advise all local sports clubs and community groups, and residents who live close to them, to be on their guard and report any suspicious activity to police immediately. I would also urge anyone who has information about any of these fires to contact us.”
So far, there are no reports of any persons trapped or any injuries.
Anyone with any information should contact Surrey Police by calling 101 (999 in an emergency) quoting the reference number P14210504. Alternatively report it online at surrey.police.uk