Detectives probe Old Woking church nursery fire

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By mattcollison | Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 15:05

DETECTIVES are investigating a fire at church children's nursery which could be linked to similar arson attacks in Woking.

A building next to St Peter's Church in Church Street, Old Woking, was burgled overnight last Thursday, December 6, police have said.

The outbuilding, used as a pre-school children's nursery, was broken into between 11.30pm and 12.30am the next day.

Play items were removed and a bean bag was set alight, but the fire failed to spread and had extinguished itself by 1.30am.

Police said £200 worth of damage was caused in last week's break in, which came just days after an arson attack at Toad Hall Nursery in Goldsworth Park.

This followed an arson attack on November 18at Mayford Village Hall, which was also used as a children's nursery.

Detective Constable Stuart Pittaway investigating said: "There have been a number of suspicious fires in the borough recently and Surrey Police is keeping an open mind as to whether they are linked and is investigating any similarities between the incidents. 

"I would urge residents to be aware of any suspicious activity in their neighbourhood and to report any concerns they have to police. 

"The damage caused as a result of these incidents directly affects the communities the facilities serve and, is not only mindless vandalism, it is potentially dangerous. In this case, if the beanbag hadn't been made of fire retardant fabric, the fire could have spread and had far more serious consequences, not only for the nursery but for surrounding properties.

"The investigation into this recent offence in Old Woking is in its early stages with house to house enquiries undertaken and increased Safer Neighbourhood patrols to provide a visible reassurance in the locality."

Bryn Strudwick, Fire Investigation and Community Risk Manager of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said: "The fire service is advising that where possible combustible and waste material is removed or locked away and to report fire incidents, no matter how small, to the fire service and other incidents to Surrey Police. 

"The fire service is also asking all residents to check their smoke alarm before Christmas to ensure that it is working correctly. Surrey residents can arrange a Fire Service Home Fire Safety Visit by calling the request line on freephone 0800 085 0767."  

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