Detectives are probing a spate of arson attacks on ice cream vans amid fears of an escalating ‘turf war’ among rival sellers.
Five vans were set ablaze and destroyed in three incidents that took place within just 25 minutes on residential streets across a one-mile area in Luton, Bedfordshire.
Police are hunting for a hooded man suspected of being behind the attacks, with some locals claiming that ice cream vendors new to the area were the targets.
One ice cream seller, who asked not to be named, said that a turf war could be behind the late-night incident on Tuesday.
He said: ‘There are guys going on one another’s patch. The rules are you don’t park up near one another. It’s quite possible it’s related to that.
‘The guys who were targeted were all new in the trade, they joined a couple of months ago.
‘It seems possible they’ve been targeted because of that. Coming onto another patch or because of family problems.’
Detectives are probing a spate of arson attacks on ice cream vans amid fears of an escalating ‘turf war’ among rival sellers (file image)
He added that the incident risked ‘ruining people’s lives’.
He said: ‘Whoever’s done this should be put away for a long time and made an example of.’
One of the victims targeted in the attacks – who asked to remain anonymous – said that her ice cream van was set alight in her driveway.
She added: ‘There were windows and glass shattering and there was damage to the driveway.
‘The glass shattered because of the heat of the fire on the van.’
Resident Weronika Szydlowska, 34, witnessed two ice cream vans engulfed in flames after the arsonist struck.
One ice cream seller, who asked not to be named, said that a turf war could be behind the late-night incident on Tuesday (file image)
She recalled: ‘The first one was set on fire and then the other caught alight. It was so quick.
‘In the morning both of the vans were destroyed.’
The local police and fire service responded to all three incidents and no one was injured in the attacks.
Detective Sergeant Hasan Balic of Luton Police said: ‘These incidents happened in the middle of the night when the vehicles were parked in a residential street.
‘We would like to speak to anyone who may have seen anything or who was in the area, especially in Broad Mead, Bishopscote Road or Limbury Road.’
Source: Daily Mail