Police have arrested eight people in connection with a string of arson attacks involving two gangs in Hartlepool.
Cleveland Police have arrested a total of eight men in connection with three incidents of arson and an incident of criminal damage in Hartlepool over the last two weeks.
It comes after police raided 12 homes in Hartlepool
Detectives are linking the cases and say that they believe them to be targeted attacks on individuals.
Officers say they believe that they may have been initiated as part of an ongoing disagreement between two groups of local men.
Twelve searches of properties have been carried out today across Hartlepool.
A 34-year-old man and 18-year-old man have been arrested today on suspicion of conspiracy to commit arson and are currently in police custody.
The incidents being linked by police are:
• Arson at a property on Ashwood Close on August 14 at around 9.35pm;
• Arson at a property on Ridley Court on August 14 at around 9.30pm;
• Arson at a property on Tommy Mcguigan Grove on August 9 at around 10.55pm;
• Criminal damage to a property on De Havilland Way on August 9 at around 12.55am.
A further six men have been arrested by officers on suspicion of a number of offences in connection with the incidents and all have been released while under investigation.
Acting Detective Chief Inspector Chris Barker, of Cleveland Police, said: “We have a team of detectives working on this investigation and expect to make further arrests as we continue our inquiries.
“I would ask that members of the public assist us by providing any information about these incidents.
“They can also contact Crimestoppers who are independent of the police and can be given information completely anonymously.”
Officers are appealing for witnesses to any of the incidents to come forward on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.