Mystery of the conifer firebug still unsolved...

Flashback: A burnt conifer tree in Sowerby.
Flashback: A burnt conifer tree in Sowerby.

THE hunt for a firebug who carried out a bizarre campaign of torching trees is still under way.

Police are yet to find the culprit behind 10 fire attacks on conifers and hedges made of leylandii in the Beechwood and Triangle areas of Sowerby.

As reported by the Courier, the blazes happened over several weeks in May. All were started under the cover of darkness.

Officers say there have not been any further fires but they are keen to hear from anyone who can give them any information.

Sergeant Sarah Giles, from the Upper Valley neighbourhood policing team, said: “Officers conducted house-to-house enquiries in the immediate vicinity of where the fires were started and the Calderdale Arson Task Force went on to the estate to advise those residents effected.

“Although no arrests were made officers did speak with a number of local youths who they believed may have had some knowledge about the incidents.

“Patrols were increased in the area and particular attention was paid to vulnerable sites.

“At this time the incidents have been filed. However I would encourage anyone who has information which may lead us identifying those responsible to contact the police so we may take some positive action and deter any further offences from being committed.”

She said although the fires had been discovered and put out quickly, they had been close to people’s houses.

There was no suggestion that petrol or paraffin had been used to start the fires. But police are convinced they were started maliciously.

The spate of fires made national headlines and left residents baffled.

Tim Baylis, manager of Gordon Rigg Garden Centre in Todmorden, told the Courier at the time that he had never heard of this kind of attack on trees before.

Anyone with information that could help the police should call the Upper Valley neighbourhood policing team on 0845 6060606 or CrimeStoppers, where information can be passed on anonymously, on 0800 555111.