Horley blaze is sixth "suspicious" fire in the area in the last month

Detectives were this week investigating another suspicious fire at a sports site – this time in Horley.

Detectives from Eastern CID were at the scene at Oakwood Sports Centre in Balcombe Road yesterday morning, alongside Surrey Fire and Rescue Service investigators.

The blaze was the sixth in the area in the last four weeks.

Details of the extent of the fire were still unclear as Life went to press, but it is understood damage was caused and the incident is being treated as suspicious.

A Surrey Police spokesman said: “At this stage officers are not ruling out that it is linked with other fires in the Horley and Reigate area, of which there have been five in the last month.”

He said: “They include two at the Old Reigatian Rugby Club in Park Lane, on July 12 and June 28, and further fires at Horley Lawn Tennis Club, in Vicarage Lane, on June 22, the Churchfields Bowls club in Church Walk, Reigate, on June 26, and at a property in Massetts Road, Horley, on July 2.”

A 43-year-old man from Epsom was arrested on July 5 in connection with the fires, and was released on bail until August 21.

A reward of up to £2,000 is still on offer from the independent charity Crimestoppers for any information passed to them which leads to the arrest and conviction of an offender.

The appeal for information has also been featured on BBC One's Crimewatch Roadshow.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Antony Archibald, said: "We are in the process of carrying out a thorough investigation into the fire, alongside the fire service.”

He said: “At this stage we are keeping an open mind as to whether it links with the other suspicious fires we have had in the area.

"It is extremely important that anyone who was in the Balcombe Road area or who saw anything unusual from 10pm on Sunday, July 20, until around 6am on July 21, get in touch with us. “It doesn't matter how insignificant you think information you hold might be, it could be vital to us and our investigation.”

Temp Det Chief Insp Archibald continued: "We would also like the public to think about whether they know anybody that has been going out late at night, and returning home in the early hours of the morning, possibly smelling of smoke or accelerants.

"Fortunately nobody was hurt during this incident, but fires of this nature can put lives at risk, as well as causing huge unrest when it involves community facilities.” He added: "We fully understand that these fires are of great concern to the public. “I would like to wholeheartedly reassure you that we are treating them as a matter of priority and are doing everything we can to put a stop to it with increased patrols, while there is a huge amount of work being done behind the scenes.”

Anyone with information should contact Surrey Police by calling 101 (999 in an emergency), quoting the reference number P14210504. Alternatively, people can report information online using the online reporting system at: http://www.surrey.police.uk/ or can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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