Wrexham warzone fears spark pledge from top policeman

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

POLICE are urging residents to remain vigilant following a spate of car fires in Rhos and Ponciau.

The Leader revealed yesterday that one resident claimed 15 arson attacks on vehicles in just months had made the two areas appear like a warzone.

Police say they are taking the attacks “very seriously” and officers have resolved to bring the culprits to justice.

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones says she has made an urgent request to North Wales chief constable Mark Polin for extra police resources to tackle the problem.

In a letter to him she says: “Following these extremely serious incidents, it is clear that additional police resources are needed to tackle the problem in this area.

“While I am aware that budgets are currently under strain, action must still be taken to tackle this problem.

“Without a swift, visible and effective response from North Wales Police, vandalism and anti-social behaviour will continue to cause serious worry, distress and harm to communities in Rhos and Ponciau.

“Allocation of additional resources to the area will not only significantly improve the prospect of convicting the criminals behind these acts, but also send a clear and unequivocal message that this behaviour will not be tolerated.”

In a letter of reply to Ms Jones, the force’s eastern division commander, Chief Supt Neill Anderson, says the attacks are being taken “very seriously indeed” and that his officers are resolved to identify the culprits and bring them to justice.

He adds: “I am confident the resources required to do this will be made available.

“The inspector for the area, Iwan Jones, has put in place operation Galivant that is designed to prevent any further such offences.

“This operation is being funded to provide additional staff to patrol those areas identified through analysis as potentially vulnerable to this type of offence.

“This will be supported by a number of other tactics, some of which for operational reasons we would not wish to advertise.”

He added that the local police team has visited more than 200 addresses in the area conducting leaflet drops and offering reassurance to residents.

He adds: “One measure of the success of this aspect of the operation is an increase of intelligence coming from the community that is assisting with the investigation.

“In terms of the investigation, we are co-ordinating this with crime scene investigators as well as North Wales Fire and Rescue to ensure forensic opportunities are maximised.

“Inspector Jones is in regular dialogue with local councillors, including Aled Roberts, leader of Wrexham Council, to ensure that all key stakeholders are kept up to date with developments.”

Sgt Mark Williams, who has just taken up his post at Rhos Police Station, stressed the spate of fires happened in December and January.

“Police operations are still running in an attempt to prevent further incidents. Police action so far has prevented anything like this happening during the last couple of months.

“We do ask that residents remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to us.”

See full story in the Leader

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