"It was only a matter of time": Sheffield building is set alight in suspected arson attack

A Sheffield resident has slammed the police’s lack of action after a large building was burned by suspected arsonists despite him warning police ‘it was only a matter of time’.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 12:20 pm

On February 23 at 1.55am, three fire crews from Central and Rivelin stations were called out to a fire at Rutland House on Penistone Road, Owlerton, Sheffield.

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue confirmed the fire is believed to have been started deliberately.

It took crews until 4.10am to put the fire out.

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The building on Penistone Road, Owlerton
The building on Penistone Road, Owlerton

The local resident, who wished to remain anonymous, criticied the police for not securing the buildings to prevent them being broken into and damaged.

He said: “I have for many years contacted the police regarding these buildings on Penistone Road, which have been repeatedly broken into.

"All that happened was the front door was covered with flimsy chipboard. Despite repeated break-ins which I witnessed the police refused to attend.

The building on Penistone Road, Owlerton

"Most recently I contacted the police on February 20, warning them that it was only a matter of time before an arson attack occurred as there have been so many in the surrounding area.

"My pleas were completely ignored and now this is what has happened.

“The only thing that anyone has learned from this is that they can break into buildings without consequence as the police will not come. Our city is burning because the idiots in charge of SYP do nothing to prevent arson attacks.”

The building on Penistone Road, Owlerton

The resident also said that the damage being done to the buildings was making other businesses and residents in the area fearful that their premises would be attacked in the future.

He said: “As a nearby resident I fear for my safety and wonder what will happen next. When will SYP listen to its residents and take action.

"What of the remaining businesses on this estate? How long before their businesses are targeted?

"I am disgusted by SYP’s handling of this matter. They are an absolute disgrace and should be ashamed of their incompetence.

The building on Penistone Road, Owlerton

"This building is on a dual carriageway into the city centre and shows the thousands of people driving down this road daily that this city is a derelict, burned down eyesore.

"It is shameful and an embarassment."

Sergeant Simon Kirkham, who leads the recently formed Walkley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This property has been boarded up for some time and we are aware of the concerns that have been raised by local residents over the last 18 months.

“We are very keen to work with those responsible for the building to provide crime prevention advice, and work is currently ongoing to trace the current owner. In the meantime, extra patrols will be put place in the area to provide some reassurance to concerned residents.

“My team will also be reviewing all of the incidents previously reported to us, as well as working with partners and those that have taken the time to report their concerns with a view to seeking a satisfactory solution.”