Four fires in a single street force evacuation

Arsonists struck four times in a single street, forcing the evacuation of guests from a hotel yesterday. West Mercia Police said the fires broke out in the early hours of the morning in Ledbury, Herefordshire. The first fire, reported at 2.50am, caused around £50,000 worth of damage to the hotel, and a parked car. Two further fires were set in porches and a fourth was discovered at an estate agents.

Detective Sergeant Nick Shutt, of Herefordshire CID, said six guests had been evacuated from the hotel but no-one had been hurt.

"It is fortunate that on this occasion no one has been injured as a result of these fires, which could have had far more serious consequences," the officer said.

"I would like to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard anything unusual in the early hours of this morning. The scenes of these fires are relatively close and at this stage we believe they are all linked."

CCTV images are now being examined by officers, who have appealed for anyone with information to contact Hereford police station on 0300 333 3000.

Det Sgt Shutt added: "Incidents of this nature are rare in Ledbury but we understand the concern they can cause locally.

"As part of our policing we will be stepping up high visibility patrols tonight and over coming evenings.

"New Street has been closed to traffic and is likely to remain closed today and tomorrow as police enquiries continue."