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Arson attacks baffle Småland police

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15:50 CEST+02:00
Two villages in south west Småland have suffered around 25 arson attacks in the last twelve months. The latest was in the small hours of Friday morning and police in two counties are now trying to find a connection between the fires.

On Maundy Thursday Jönköping police put an appeal on their web site, asking the public for any tip-offs about the fires in Smålandsstenar.

But the response was not the one the police had hoped for: at 2am two garages, around a hundred metres from each other, were set alight.

"Three, four cars are completely destroyed. Others were less seriously damaged," said fire officer Arne Svärm in Gislaved .

Around twenty firemen from four stations were called in to fight the blazes, which took two hours to put out.

"In the last year we've had 14, 15 fires of a similar nature, which have no natural explanation. The majority have been started outdoors or in unlocked garbage stores," said Svärm.

The worst damage was inflicted upon a furniture store in October. On that occasion the fire was started in a loading bay and on the same night there were two other fires in Smålandsstenar.

A school storeroom and an empty apartment have also been targeted, as well as a boiler room.

Smålandsstenar is in Jönköping county. Around 30km south of Smålandsstenar is Unnaryd, in Hallands county.

Some ten fires have been started there since last summer, including in a summer house, a carpenter's workshop and in a museum. On Wednesday two blazes were started near an old rubbish tip.

"There is speculation of a link between the two areas. There's nothing to dispute that, but also nothing to confirm it," said Arne Svärm.

Detective Henrik Allgurin, at Värnamo police, spent the morning of Good Friday talking to residents of Smålandsstenar.

"People who live here think this is very unpleasant," he said.

Nobody has been injured in the fires, and whoever started them seems to have chosen targets away from other people.

"It could be two or more people, who are goading each other on and think that this is exciting," said Allgurin.

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