Devastated Dunkeswell salesman forced to close business after suspected arson attack

PUBLISHED: 10:30 08 June 2018

The destroyed vehicles at Dunkeswell. Photo: Honiton Fire Station

The destroyed vehicles at Dunkeswell. Photo: Honiton Fire Station

Archant

A devastated Dunkeswell used-car salesman has been forced to close up his business after two vehicles he was advertising were destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

The burnt-out cars in Dunkeswell. Photo: David HillierThe burnt-out cars in Dunkeswell. Photo: David Hillier

David Hillier, who owns Doo Dahs Cars and 4x4s in Flight Way Business Park, was horrified to discover two cars at his site ablaze on Tuesday, May 29 after being alerted by a neighbour.

The dad-of-two, who also owns another business locally, fears the incident was a targeted attack - one so serious, it has forced Doo Dahs to close at the end of the month.

Police have confirmed a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson and officers are continuing to investigate the incident.

A Renault Megane and Vauxhall Astra convertible were destroyed in the blaze, and the building Mr Hiller works from was also damaged.

The burnt-out cars in Dunkeswell. Photo: David HillierThe burnt-out cars in Dunkeswell. Photo: David Hillier

The 46-year-old, who runs the business with wife Annette and son Lee, 23, said: “I am absolutely devastated. This incident has resulted in the loss of two jobs.

“The building was insured but the cars were not.

“The current climate is very hard for the used motor trade.

“We have had to run two businesses to earn a living for four of us. This is three years of hard work for nothing.

The burnt-out cars in Dunkeswell. Photo: David HillierThe burnt-out cars in Dunkeswell. Photo: David Hillier

“We are not going to be able to recover from this.

“The incident has caused a lot of unease in the village for me personally.”

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were called on Tuesday, May 29. Two private cars were severely damaged by a fire.

“Smoke and flames were issuing on arrival, and was well-alight when crews got there.

The burnt-out cars in Dunkeswell. Photo: David HillierThe burnt-out cars in Dunkeswell. Photo: David Hillier

“The fire was put out by hose reel jets.”

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police added: “Police are investigating a vehicle fire at Flight Way Business Park in Dunkeswell.

“A 70-year-old man from Honiton was arrested on suspicion of arson and was released under investigation pending further enquiries.”

Mr Hillier added: “I feel that Dunkeswell is becoming unlawful - every day someone has something damaged or stolen.

The burnt-out cars in Dunkeswell. Photo: David HillierThe burnt-out cars in Dunkeswell. Photo: David Hillier

“I am thankful for everyone who has supported the business - suppliers and customers.

“I am very sorry that we will not be able to continue serving them.”

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