Car hire boss baffled by string of attacks on firm
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