Classic car destroyed by arsonists in village fire wrecking spree

Greatham resident and parish councillor Sue Watson pictured with her fire damaged car.
Greatham resident and parish councillor Sue Watson pictured with her fire damaged car.

A PARISH councillor had her classic sports car torched after arsonists targeted a leafy village twice in the space of one night.

Sue Watson, who represents Greatham Parish Council, was left devastated when her 42-year-old Triumph Spitfire MK3 was set fire to by yobs in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

In a second attack, just 40 minutes later, Greatham Community Centre chairwoman Dorothy Clark had her Ford Ka – which she used as a run-around to help her perform voluntary tasks in the village – torched by the arsonists.

Both women described the attacks as “mindless”.

Sue’s sports car, which she nicknames Nellie and is worth about £12,000, has been left in ruins, as has Dorothy’s black Ford Ka.

Grandmother-of-two Dorothy, also chairwoman of Greatham in Bloom, said: “I just feel hurt and saddened that somebody would do this.

“I’ve said to Sue and I’ve said to the police that I only do good things in the village, not anything other.

“I use the car all the time when I’m working in the village just to get about. I can’t manage without it.

“My litter-picker was in the back of the car, but hopefully I’ll be able to get that back.”

The 82-year-old, of Station Road, added: “When you wouldn’t do any harm to anyone else, something like this happening to you does hurt.”

Retired teacher Sue, 59, who lives in West Row with her council worker husband Anthony, 51, said: “At the minute we’re just in shock.

“Nothing ever happens here, but they certainly made up for it doing this.

“We just can’t think of a reason why they’ve done it, whether it’s coincidence or deliberate we don’t know.

“We’re both ardent members of groups within the village, but only for the good of the village.”

She added: “It’s just mindless. That car has gone through all sorts of things in 42 years and one moment of madness by one numpty and it’s gone.

“If they’d gone past and wanted a ride in the car then I’d have happily taken them out in it any time.

“I’m actually more upset that the fire from our car damaged my neighbour’s car. It’s just really sad.”

The pair, along with dozens of other villagers, were woken by exploding noises coming from the cars, which were torched within 40 minutes of each other.

Dorothy’s car was set alight first, followed by Sue’s vehicle, with flames from that damaging the outside of a red Fiat Punto parked next to it.

Officers came across the first blaze while on routine patrol around 4am yesterday and then a short time later the classic sports car was discovered burning fiercely.

A resident had called the fire brigade and a crew attended the scene to put out the flames.

Hartlepool Police have launched an inquiry into the incidents and are urging anyone who knows those responsible, or who saw anything suspicious, to contact PC Keith Robinson on the non-emergency number, 101, or to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.