LivePolice hunting for town centre arsonist who torched clothes in Kingston M&S

First published in News

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Summary

  • Updates from emergency services as they come in
  • Reaction from shoppers
  • Pictures from the scene
  • Did you see what happened? Call the newsdesk on 020 8744 4244.

5:41pm

Marks and Spencer said there was minimal damage in today's fire.

A spokesman said: "We take the safety of our customers and employees extremely seriously and their wellbeing is our highest priority.

“Nobody was hurt during the incident and there was minimal disruption caused to the store, which has now resumed trading.

"We are now assisting the police with their investigation and cannot comment any further."

5:09pm

Police have arrested a 52-year-old man on suspicion of arson in connection with a series of fires in shops today.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said the man was now in custody in a West London police station.

4:20pm

Police have confirmed fires in Richmond town centre yesterday may be connected to today's arson attacks.

A spokesman for Richmond police said: "Enquires are on going and we are unable to confirm at this stage if the offences are linked."

4:09pm

A helicopter hovers above Marks and Spencer

3:53pm

White stuff store manager Anthony Di Biase said shutting the shop could have costs thousands in lost revenue.
He said: "We were shut for over and hour and half during the busiest part of the shopping day in the run up to Christmas. It was a big financial hit.
"There were clothes damaged but the real money is lost revenue. The shop was completely full when we were forced to evacuate."

3:20pm

Surrey Comet:

 

Inside Gap a section has been cordoned off awaiting police forensics investigators

3:06pm

The list of shops now includes Reiss, as well as both branches of Marks and Spencer, Gap, Monsoon and Superdry

3:05pm

London Fire Brigade incident commander Simon Browning from Surbiton fire station confirmed there have been seven small fires at shops in Kingston, all of which have been put out.
He said three fire trucks would remain in the town centre on standby in case there are further incidents.
He said: "We were called to Marks and Spencer at 1.15pm to reports of a fire.

"When we got here we discovered several further incidents.

"Police have advised us there is a man going round setting fire to clothes inshops around the town centre.

"We will remain here this afternoon in case of any other fire reports but this is now a police investigation."

2:56pm

Hannah Crompton, a journalism student at Kingston University who earlier said she had seen a man being arrested, said she has since been told he was not the arsonist.

 

She said a member of Eden Walk security confirmed man arrested outside McDonald's was not the man police were looking for in connection with the arsons.

 

2:53pm

Traders say police are still looking for a man wearing Nike trainers, combat trousers and a black top aged about 40 years old.

 

2:46pm

Virtually no police left on the ground although firefighters are still there, according to another witness

2:40pm

Police have not yet commented on today's series of attacks, which are believed to have begun shortly before 1pm.

2:40pm

 

2:35pm

Hannah Crompton, a journalism student at Kingston University, said she had seen a man being arrested at about 2pm.

She said: "A man has just been arrested outside McDonalds on Eden Street. 

"He was taken away in handcuffs and a plastic bag over the handcuffs."

2:33pm

Dave Mccreadie was in Mark and Spencer doing Xmas shopping when it was evacuated. He said: "The alarm went off at first everyone ignored it like they do. Then security started herding everyone out started to get scary. I didn't see or even smell anything but was told by security stuff was on fire."

2:31pm

2:27pm

 

2:23pm

Firefighters outside Marks and Spencer have confirmed clothes have been set on fire in at least six locations around Kingston.

They include both Marks and Spencer, Monsoon, Gap and Superdry.

2:18pm

Marks and Spencer has now reopened

2:16pm

Surrey Comet: Christmas shoppers turfed out after Bentall Centre evacuated over 'small fire'

Clothes were extinguished outside the department store

2:06pm

Police are checking cars in Kingston, Richmond Road and in Tesco New Malden.

A resident said: "It's as if they are looking for something. Many many police."

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