A COMMUNITY is living in fear that their neighbourhood will be labelled a crime blackspot after a spate of car fires.

Residents of Rhos have been plagued by a series of attacks which left their cars engulfed in flames.

The latest incident, reported last week, broke a perceived lull in activity.

One councillor estimates there have been 16 cars deliberately set alight in less than two months.

Cllr Paul Pemberton, who lives in Rhos and represents Ponciau ward, believes the latest incident in the early hours of Thursday on Maes y Ficerdy brings the tally up to 17, although he hopes it was not connected.

He is concerned that car insurance prices will shoot up and that his residents will ultimately pay the price.

Cllr Pemberton said: “I’m almost certain they’ve all been started by the same person as they were all done in the same way, using no fire accelerant and leaving no forensic evidence.

“There never seems to be any evidence of any actual physical contact, making it hard to find anything with forensics.

“The cars targeted have been chosen because they are out of sight of CCTV which again makes it more difficult for the police.

“I’m very concerned that someone’s going to get seriously hurt.”

One disabled Rhos resident, who did not want to be named, said the incidents were “pure vandalism”.

The householder said she was so concerned about the arson attacks that she and her husband park their two cars separately.

“We’re worried that if they burn one the other one will go up,” she said.

“It is scary and seems to be happening a lot around here.

“It’s always been a quiet village but it’s a shame the way it’s going.

“I think it’s just pure vandalism if they are setting them on fire and not even stealing them.

“Nobody wins and we all lose because our insurance premiums go up.”

Cllr Pemberton added: “I keep thinking about one incident where the fire almost spread to a nearby house and I dread to think what might have happened.

“I’ve seen a demonstration of a car fire and the force of them is incredibly frightening.

“I know the community as a whole is still incredibly worried and are still trying to come to terms with what’s happening.

“And in the long term we’re all starting to worry about the effects on car insurance, that Rhos will be labelled a black spot and classed as a high risk area.

“It’s very worrying and the police are at the end of their tether.

“I’m certain it’s someone local because they’re clearly knowledgeable of the area.

“It always happens in the same sort of areas around Ponciau and Maes-y-Gornel and there’s always somewhere nearby where they can take cover quickly.

“I’m just hoping to God this latest one is not connected because we had hoped it had died down a bit.”

A North Wales Police spokesman said: “We are aware of the situation and are investigating the problem.

“We urge people to park in a well-lit place and be careful not to leave valuables on display.”