Arsonists’ £100,000 trail of destruction as cars torched

Fred Welland (right), 73, and Colin Bland, 75, whose cars were destroyed by fire while parked in Fernhurst Road, Wheatley Hills. Mr Welland's car is the vehicle in the centre of our picture, while Mr Bland's is the one on the left.

Fred Welland (right), 73, and Colin Bland, 75, whose cars were destroyed by fire while parked in Fernhurst Road, Wheatley Hills. Mr Welland's car is the vehicle in the centre of our picture, while Mr Bland's is the one on the left.

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THIS is the scene of devastation facing a group of elderly and disabled residents after arsonists targeted their street.

Residents at the sheltered housing complex in Fernhurst Road, Wheatley Hills, had five cars, valued at £100,000, damaged after one was set alight through a smashed window before the blaze quickly spread. Three of the cars were so badly damaged they were written off by insurers.

Disabled pensioner Fred Welland, 73, says the residents have no idea why they have been targeted.

He said: “We were awoken about 12.45am by banging on the front door and when I got up a young man said the fire brigade had already been called.

“Unfortunately the wind was blowing off the playing field near us and the burning car then set my £21,000 Citroen Picasso alight, and then the flames went along the row of parked cars.

“My partner, Ros, had parked her Mazda 5 behind my car and the bumper was just starting to melt so I was able to get in it and reverse it away from the fire. So hers is salvageable but mine is a write-off.”

A Vauxhall Cavalier, a Nissan Qashqai and Kia ProCee’d were damaged before Edlington fire crews were able to extinguish the flames.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Police were notified of a fire incident on Fernhurst Road, at approximately 1.15am on Wednesday, August 1.

“A blue Vauxhall Cavalier which was parked on the street appears to have been set alight, which has then ignited four further cars.

“Police are investigating the incident as arson.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting incident 57 of August 1.