Police probe attacks on ice cream firm

POLICE are investigating the latest in a series of attacks on a Hipperholme ice cream company after a van was burned to the ground.

The van and trailer, owned by ice cream salesman Mr Billy Briggs, of Kendall's Ices, Hipperholme, was parked outside his home in Kirk Lane, Hipperholme, on Tuesday evening.

He said the blaze was the latest in a spate of attacks on the Hipperholme company.

"We've had windows smashed and tyres slashed and now the vehicle set on fire," said Mr Briggs. "We've had to install CCTV at the company."

He said if neighbours had not spotted the burning vehicle it could have been far more serious.

"The fire could have spread to the houses," he said.

His fiance Louise, who is expecting a baby at the end of this month, was in the house when the fire started.

"Neighbours alerted her and she contacted me. I was just on my way home," he said.

The van and trailer were parked outside his house because the secure compound where he keeps his fleet of vehicles was full.

Brighouse and Halifax firefighters were called to the blaze at 8.30pm.

"I'm hoping it wasn't a vindictive attack," said Mr Briggs. "It was possibly kids but I'm left with the vehicle, trailer and stock."

He didn't suspect other ice cream businesses and said there was a mutual understanding between the different companies. He estimated the value of the vehicle between 4,000 and 5,000.

"We've been using it for a few years. It was taxed, tested and insured and used on a regular basis," he said. "We've been having a few problems and this is the latest."

Brighouse fire station sub officer Andy Medlock said the heat of the blaze had cracked windows in the houses.

"The vehicle was in a courtyard next to the houses. The fire could easily have spread," he said. "The vehicle was gutted when we got there."

He said the fire appeared to have been started by the front bumper and had spread to the trailer.