£25,000 arson at nursery

PUBLISHED: 11:43 29 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:43 06 May 2010

Mr Griffin with the charred remains of his pride and joy, a prostrate blue cedar

Mr Griffin with the charred remains of his pride and joy, a prostrate blue cedar

POLICE are investigating four fires that caused over £25,000 worth of damage at a tree nursery. The fires, which are being treated as arson by police, happened at Amenity Trees in Mill Lane, Arlesey, last Thursday night destroying many rare specimens. Nur

POLICE are investigating four fires that caused over £25,000 worth of damage at a tree nursery.

The fires, which are being treated as arson by police, happened at Amenity Trees in Mill Lane, Arlesey, last Thursday night destroying many rare specimens.

Nursery owner Roger Griffin has been running the site which he turned from derelict agricultural land into a thriving horticultural business next to the River Hiz since 1979.

The fires were discovered by his wife Jenny while she went on a walk with the family dog from the couple's bungalow close to the nursery at 10.30pm. Firefighters from Shefford spent several hours putting out the fires that were deliberately started by a person or people stuffing blazing bunches of dried reeds through the fencing and igniting plastic webbing that is used to protect plants from the wind.

Among the plants that were destroyed was a 17-year-old prostrate blue spruce that was Mr Griffin's pride and joy. It was the only one in the country and worth £1,500. In July it was due to be displayed once again at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

Mr Griffin slammed those who had attacked his nursery as he surveyed the damage. "Four fires all happened at the same time so this must mean it was done by a group of people," said Mr Griffin.

"I don't have any enemies I know of. I am just a nurseryman so this is just a disaster for me.

"The loss of the prostrate blue spruce is the biggest blow. I had nurtured that for many years and it was a regular at Hampton Court."

Mr Griffin added: ""Those responsible used the footpath along the River Hiz at the back of the nursery and stuffed dry reeds through the fence and set them alight.

"The plastic webbing easily caught fire and melted, dripping on to plants and the ground matting."

"It will take a long time to put things right."

Anyone with information should contact investigating officer Pc John Holdsworth on 01234 841212.


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