Sheffield village ‘incensed’ by van arson attack

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AN ANONYMOUS businessman has offered a £1,000 reward to help catch arsonists who set a Sheffield pet shop van on fire.

The white Ford Transit, which belonged to Stannington shop owner Les Ibbotson, was found by police gutted in the early hours. It contained stock from Stannington Pets and Hardware worth about £450 and was parked outside the shop on Stannington Road when it was set ablaze.

The businessman – a customer who was angry to learn of the attack – has offered the reward for information leading to a prosecution.

Les, aged 59, who is recovering from a heart attack just 10 weeks ago, said villagers were ‘incensed’ by the attack.

He said: “I’ve been here 29 years and everyone knows us.

“The van was parked on the forecourt and it’s in a prominent position.

“We have no idea why anybody would set it on fire. There’s just no reason for it.

“A local businessman is offering £1,000 as a reward for information.

“People can’t believe this has happened to me. They are upset about it in the village.

“Some people burst into tears when they saw it – this is a nice little village and it is out of character.”

The 14-year-old van was stolen eight weeks ago, but was later found and returned.

Mr Ibbotson, who lives in Stannington, was woken by police on Friday, at about 1.30am, to be told the van was burned out. It is believed the fire was started between midnight and 12.30am.

Mr Ibbotson said: “The van isn’t worth much more than £1,000 to be honest, but there were buckets, canes, plants and hardware things in the van which are worth about £450 and the insurance won’t cover.”

n Anybody with information should call police on 101.