Redditch arsonist may have suffered burns

POLICE want help to trace a man who may have suffered burns while setting fire to a house in Redditch at the weekend.

The man ran from the back of a terraced house in Dilwyn Close, Matchborough, with a flaming jerry can which was still on fire when it was found by police in an alleyway there after the incident at 8.30pm on Saturday, February.

Neighbours were alerted by a large bang as the offender set fire to a window frame after he had unsuccessfully tried to break in via the back garden. The house is occupied but no-one was home at the time.

Residents started to tackle the blaze themselves before the arrival of the fire service. Although the window was burned out the flames did not spread and inside there was mainly smoke damage.

The man who was seen running from the property was white, described as looking young, slim and around 5ft 5 ins tall. He was wearing a black, hooded top and a black scarf across the lower part of his face.

An arson investigation has been launched by North Worcestershire CID and door-to-door enquiries have been carried out as well as forensic examination of the scene.

Detective Constable Sophie Gaffney said: “We understand the offender was seen running from the back of the property with a petrol can which was still on fire. He may well have flash burns to his hands and scorched his clothing. If you saw him making his way there with the petrol can or have any idea about who he might be then please get in touch with us immediately.

“Fortunately neighbours were alerted to the blaze by a small explosion as the window caught alight and their prompt action helped minimise the damage. This fire was started quite deliberately and bearing in mind it is a terraced property it could have been a lot worse. It is vital that anyone with information comes forward to help us catch the offender as quickly as possible.”

Details can be passed to CID officers at Redditch Police Station via the non-emergency number 101, quoting the incident reference 602-S-220214. Alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers will receive information anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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