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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Trail goes cold in search for Carlisle Harveys arsonists

Detectives have hit a dead end in their hunt for arsonists who torched a furniture store.

Cumbria police Tracey Nimmo photo
Tracey Nimmo

The Harveys site, on Crown Street, Carlisle, has been cleared and the store demolished after it was destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

Police believe the fire was started deliberately but revealed this week their inquiries into who was responsible have stalled.

Detective Inspector Tracey Nimmo, who has been leading the investigation alongside DI Craig Smith, said one line of inquiry relating to two young men in a car proved fruitless.

She explained: “We have traced the two men and eliminated them from our inquiries, as we have a person who was walking past at the time.”

DI Nimmo said the two men, aged around 19, were using ‘Snapchat’, a photo messaging app, and taking pictures of different places around Carlisle.

They happened to be in the area at the time of the blaze and had not seen anything to help police with their inquiries, DI Nimmo added.

Officers have also been poring over CCTV footage and speaking to staff about people in the area.

But DI Nimmo admitted the case was proving a tough one to crack and renewed calls for help from the public.

“It’s a really difficult one,” she said. “If anyone does have any information and has not come forward yet, no matter how small it may be, we would be grateful for any details.

“Someone might have spotted something in the area at the time or heard someone talking about the fire.

“People might think this is a few weeks old now but it is still a live investigation.

“We are still speaking with people involved with Harveys and chasing up leads but I’m not sure, at this stage, if and when we will reach a conclusion.”

Meanwhile, The Cumberland News understands the furniture retailer will open a new store in a different location in Carlisle – although Harveys has not confirmed this.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service said the arsonists set two industrial wheelie bins, filled with cardboard, alight at the back of the premises.

Heather Bradley, Carlisle City Council member for Currock, said it was important to protect jobs at the store.

“It is absolutely essential to our local economy that we keep these jobs,” she said.

Bensons for Beds, which was also in the Harveys building, previously said it wanted to stay in Carlisle and was looking for a temporary location. A spokeswoman said the company was reviewing all the options and would reveal further information about its plans in future.

Anyone with information can contact police on 101.

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