Local residents have described a scene “like a warzone” as police investigate reports of a dozen car fires in the early hours of Monday morning in Dorset.
Emergency services were called out to the scene of multiple fires in Broadstone, Wimborne and Merley areas between 1am and 3am on Monday morning.
Dorset Police is investigating to “identify those responsible” for the fires, which officers said affected 12 vehicles and one property.
Grant Stewart, 33, a builder from Ferndown, described the scene as a “warzone” with people running around in a panic and cars “banging”.
“One person comes running to the scene to wake up one of the owners of the car and their car was on fire.
“I went out to find it was like a warzone with three cars ablaze and bangs going off.”
Chloe Torring, 25, a hairdresser from Wimborne, said she is in “complete shock and disbelief” after her car was destroyed in one of the fires.
She said: “I was woken up by my neighbour ringing my doorbell to tell me my car is on fire.
“I was in complete shock and disbelief.”
Ms Torring added she was “gutted” as she had owned the car for only five months.
“It’s heart-wrenching to think someone would do such a horrible thing, for no good reason,” she said.
“My car is completely destroyed. The engine is on the floor, I have no front half of my car – there’s just charcoal inside.”
Detective Sergeant Simon Austin, of County CID, said: “These incidents have affected a large number of victims in the wider Wimborne area and we are aware that this will cause concern.
“I would like to reassure our local communities that officers are currently investigating all reported incidents and are making every effort to identify those responsible.
“People will see visible police activity as officers are making house-to-house and CCTV enquiries.”
Officers added that they are appealing for any witnesses of the incidents or anyone who has seen suspicious activity to come forward.
They are also calling for anyone in the affected areas with a home CCTV camera installed or a dashcam to check their footage.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We have attended multiple vehicle fires in the Wimborne area between midnight and 2.30am this morning (May 15).
“We are supporting our police colleagues with their investigation.”