Man arrested after New Year's Eve car break-ins in Newport
PUBLISHED: 09:56 05 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:56 05 January 2017
Car owners in Newport suffered "a grim start to the New Year" after a dozen vehicles were broken into on New Year's Eve, and two were found torched days earlier.
The spate of vandalism and theft took place over three days in the lead-up to the New Year and police have arrested a 22-year-old from Harlow on suspicion of criminal damage and theft from a vehicle. The arrest is not in connection with the fires.
The trail of damage began on December 29 when a Citroen Xsara Picasso was set on fire at Chalk Farm Lane behind Newport Station, and it is believed the vehicle rolled across the lane and hit a tree.
The following evening another car – a Renault Clio – was torched in the same location before 12 vehicles were targeted on Frambury Lane and Station Road a day later on New Year’s Eve.
Many of the cars had side windows smashed and owners spent New Year’s Day clearing up glass and adding plastic sheeting their vehicles – and many took to social media to vent their dismay.
District councillor for Newport Neil Hargreaves said the lack of police presence in the village has left residents concerned.
He said: “It’s a grim start to the New Year and it is a worry for residents.
“I know the police and crime commissioner said that having officers cruising the area is unproductive but what that does is give people a sense of security.
“If you have a fully functional station in Stansted or Saffron Walden, then people know it’s there and have more confidence that incidents will be dealt with.
“Our local population is expanding and we pay 10 per cent of our council tax for the police, yet the proximity of service is being reduced. Surely we should have more, not less?
“I don’t blame the police themselves, it’s the budget cuts which have affected services.”
A spokesman for Essex Police said: “A 22-year-old man from Harlow was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and theft from a vehicle. He was released on bail until February 3, pending further enquiries.”
The spokesman added enquiries regarding the car fires, on December 29 and 30, were ongoing.
A spokeswoman for Essex County Fire and Rescue said crews were called at 8.20pm on December 29 and 8.48pm on December 30 to deal with the two car fire incidents.
The cause of the fires is unknown.