Police probe series of arsons after Leeds football club targeted

Police are investigating a series of arsons carried out in Guiseley during the past month, including a fire which caused considerable damage at the town’s football ground.

Firefighters were called to Guiseley AFC on January 31 when a passerby spotted smoke and raised the alarm.

The blaze caused serious damage to the turnstiles, a roller shutter door, a kit room and the referees changing room.

Rachel O’Connor, of Guiseley AFC, said: “It was a dog walker who spotted it. If they hadn’t, we could have lost the whole of our changing rooms and the clubhouse.

“It’s depressing at a place like ours when most of our work is done by volunteers.”

She said fires have also been started deliberately in the grounds of a primary school, at Parkinson’s Park and the bowling club.

Skips or bins behind some shops were also reportedly targeted in recent weeks.

Mrs O’Connor said: “It’s a worry for a lot of people in Guiseley at the moment to have someone going round setting fire to lots of things.

“They didn’t know if there was anyone in our building.”

The club had another setback when part of the fencing in the ground was smashed a short time after the fire.

But a donation towards replacement equipment by the Wetherby Whaler’s Guiseley branch has helped to lift everyone’s spirits.

Sergeant Paul Tolhurst, who heads the Outer North West Partnership Working Area, said: “We are investigating a number of deliberate fires in the Guiseley area and are working closely with our colleagues in the fire service. We are looking into the circumstances to establish if the incidents are linked and would appeal for anyone with any information to contact us via 101.”

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