News article

Warning following suspicious bin fires, Exmouth


Incidents being linked by police

Police are appealing for the public’s help following a recent spate of suspected arson attacks to bins around Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton.

Seven fires, mostly in July and all believed linked, have been reported to emergency services.

The bins of commercial premises have been targeted in six cases but the latest fire in the early hours of Friday [24 July] was started in bins outside someone’s home.

Police and the fire service are urging residents and business owners to be vigilant, take steps to reduce the risk and to report any suspicious behaviour.

The most recent fire took place at 2.30am on Friday when bins were set alight outside a residential building on Greenway Lane, Budleigh Salterton. No-one was injured.

A further fire happened at Exmouth Pavilion on the Esplanade at 1.30am on Monday 13 July. Police believe an accelerant was used.

The bins at Budleigh Salterton Football Club were also targeted around 3am on Saturday 11 July, 

On Wednesday 7 July, several thousand pounds worth of damage was caused to the Bumble and Bee tearoom in the Manor Gardens, Exmouth, after a fire started at 2.45am and spread to the building.

Further bin fires occurred at Lympstone Boxing Club at 2pm on Sunday 5 July, at Harbour View Café in Exmouth between 8.30am and 9am on Friday 3 July and at Hamilton Lane in Exmouth between 4am and 7am on Sunday 3 May.

Officers will continue to conduct door-to-door enquiries in the affected areas and are urging people to be vigilant.

Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Tim Hegarty of Exmouth CID, said: “So far these fires have caused damage to people’s business premises - at times causing a lot of financial damage, anguish and inconvenience. 

“The fire reported to police this morning was outside a residential property where people were asleep. This is deeply concerning and fortunately the fire was not able to spread from the bin so no-one was injured. 

“We are continuing to work alongside our colleagues at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to make enquires and establish the cause of these fires. We would like to hear from anyone who have witnessed any suspicious activity or have concerns about any person they may know who has, for example, come home smelling of fire, or has developed a fascination with fire or the emergency services.”

Police would like to hear from anyone who may have any information which could assist their enquiries, including those with potentially relevant CCTV footage. 

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 or via email at quoting log number 0099 of 13 July.

Area Manager Darren Peters, of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Fires started deliberately can be particularly dangerous because they generally develop much faster. Fires started in bins or on open ground can spread to properties or vehicles nearby and put people’s lives at risk.

“The service works closely with the police and always seeks to prosecute those people who have started fires deliberately. We are asking members of the public to be vigilant and keep all flammable goods well and securely stored.”

The service has issued the following advice to reduce the chances of arson occurring:

  • Make sure you regularly remove all combustible rubbish from gardens and driveways.
  • Keep bins in a secure place and only put them out on the day of collection
  • Do not place bins adjacent to buildings or vehicles.


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