Man jailed for linked series of fires in Newham
A serial arsonist who deliberately set more than two dozen fires has been jailed following a complex police investigation.
Amer Fareed, 39 (31.03.83), of Sprowston Road, Newham, was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, 1 July.
He pleaded guilty at the same court at an earlier hearing to eight counts of arson being reckless so as to endanger life, 17 counts of arson and two counts of possession of a Class B drug (cannabis), with three further counts of arson being taken into consideration.
Fareed started fires in bins, skips, cars and the front of shops, which had flats above them, in the Forest Gate area of Newham. Some of the bins and skips were up against houses.
Detective Inspector Phil Moor, who led the investigation, said: “I am pleased that Fareed is now behind bars as it was only a matter of time before his reckless fire starting led to someone suffering serious harm, or worse.
“I would like to thank the London Fire Brigade for bringing this to our attention when they identified a spike in fires in the Forest Gate area, which significantly increased the demand upon them.
“This was a protracted investigation, which involved hundreds of hours of CCTV trawling, which we then corroborated with phones and travel cards attributed to Fareed.
“I would like to recognise the exceptional work of Detective Constable Ravi Raja Rayan, who demonstrated excellent detective work when analysing large volumes of phone data, CCTV and other material. The overwhelming evidence we gathered against Fareed left him with no choice but to plead guilty.”
The London Fire Brigade contacted the police in early April 2021 after they noticed an uncharacteristic rise in fires in Newham targeting bins, particularly in the E7 area, dating back to February 2021.
A dedicated CID taskforce was created to identify if the fires were linked and if so, to catch the person responsible. The primary concern was that the offending was intensifying and sooner or later someone could die.
Fareed was quickly identified as a suspect and he was arrested on 18 April 2021. He was charged with five offences the following day and he was remanded in prison awaiting trial.
However, the officers’ work did not end there and they spent months working closely alongside the London Fire Brigade and the Crown Prosecution Service to secure further charges. Detectives carried out extensive CCTV and phone work to show Fareed’s movements over the months and to place him at the scene of the fires.
He was subsequently charged with an additional 25 offences on 7 July 2021 and he was convicted as above.
Chris Jenner, the Station Commander at Stratford Fire Station, said: “This case is a great example of how working closely with our partners in the Metropolitan Police Service has helped to make people in Forest Gate safer.
“From the quick thinking crews who raised concerns about the spate of fires they were seeing, to the work London Fire Brigade carried out alongside the Met, it was strong partnership working that ultimately led to this conviction.
“Many of these fires could easily have put people’s lives at risk and we are pleased to have been able to play a role in bringing the person responsible to justice.”
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