Truck arson attack stuns businessman

Anthony Jackman of Herbert Street Sutton victim of arson attack to his recovery truck''''15/11/2011.
Anthony Jackman of Herbert Street Sutton victim of arson attack to his recovery truck''''15/11/2011.
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POLICE are hunting mindless arsonists who torched a 7.5-tonne recovery wagon and a family car in the middle of the night.

Anthony Jackman and his wife, Stephanie, were alerted when the alarm on their Audi A4 sounded at 3am yesterday (Tuesday, November 15).

Anthony Jackman of Herbert Street Sutton victim of arson attack to his recovery truck''''15/11/2011.

Anthony Jackman of Herbert Street Sutton victim of arson attack to his recovery truck''''15/11/2011.

But nothing could have prepared them for the dramatic scene when they peered out of their bedroom window.

Flames, up to 10-feet high, were already ripping through both vehicles - which were parked just yards away from their Sutton home.

And the heat from the wagon fire was so intense that it cracked a couple of windows on the family’s Herbert Street home - causing thick black smoke to billow into their bedrooms.

The ferocious double blaze was only extinguished after the couple’s quick-thinking daughter Abbie, 16, dialled 999 and emergency crews arrived at the scene.

Mr Jackman, 49, said: “Me and my wife were in bed when the car alarm started going off and Stephanie jumped out of bed and saw that both vehicles were on fire.

“I’ve had the Leyland Daf recovery wagon for five years and it cost me a lot of money to do it up. And the car was worth £17,500 when we bought it six years ago. Both vehicles have been totally destroyed.

“The police have told us that there’s been a few vehicle fires in St Helens in last few weeks - including one in Derbyshire Hill a couple of days ago - but I’ve got no idea why anyone would want to do this to us. We’re all in shock.”

And Mrs Jackman, 44, told how, as devastating as the incident was, it could have been even worse.

She said: “The wagon was parked right next to the house and the fire could easily have spread into our home. The flames were blazing 10-feet high in the air.

“Luckily Abbie called 999 as soon as she heard me and her dad shouting and screaming. Smoke had already started coming into our bedrooms through the cracks in the windows.

“It could have been even worse.”

Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.