Car hire boss baf­fled by string of attacks on firm

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­

A COM­PANY boss whose busi­ness was at­tacked by ar­son­ists says his firm has been re­peat­edly tar­geted.

Three of his ve­hi­cles were torched and his premises burned in a raid this week.

But Stephen Markham says this is just the lat­est in a se­ries of attacks on his car and van hire busi­ness, Ash­ford Self Hire, at Cobbs Wood In­dus­trial Es­tate, Brunswick Road.

He said: “I don’t know what is be­hind this but it is af­fect­ing my busi­ness, my fam­ily and my health.

“I have kept the po­lice fully in­formed and have stepped up se­cu­rity. The place is as tight as a drum, but they still seem to be get­ting in.”

The lat­est raid hap­pened just af­ter mid­night on Tues­day.

Fire­fight­ers that night had to climb the high barbed wire fenc­ing to quickly reach the blaze and stop it tear­ing through the premises.

They then opened the pad­locked gates with boltcrop­pers to get their fire en­gines in.

The blaze gut­ted three vans in the yard and got in­side the roof of the com­pany’s one-storey build­ing, but fire crews stopped it spread­ing fur­ther.


Ash­ford sta­tion fire­fighter Gary McPhee said: “To get to the fire quickly, crew mem­bers had to first climb fenc­ing car­ry­ing hosepipes.

“The fenc­ing was up to 8ft high with barbed wire, but fire­fight­ers man­aged to do it with­out get­ting them­selves hurt.

“Then we had to use boltcrop­pers to break open the gates and get our ap­pli­ances in.”

Mr Markham says tyres of an­other van were also found punc­tured. Three fire en­gines were called to the in­ci­dent and fire­fight­ers were at the scene for two-and-a-half hours.

Mr Markham says that the night be­fore raiders had ran­sacked his com­pany’s of­fices.

He says the week be­fore bot­tles of vodka with rags were thrown over the fenc­ing but no fire was set off.

He adds that on Sun­day, May 16, some­one tried to burn one of his Ford Tran­sit vans. Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dents and treat­ing the lat­est as ar­son.

Scenes of crimes of­fi­cers were at the premises on Tues­day morn­ing search­ing for clues.

Of­fi­cers are ap­peal­ing for wit­nesses, and any­body who can help should call them on 01622 690690 or Crimestop­pers on 0800 555 111.


An in­ves­ti­ga­tion of­fi­cer at the scene

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