VIDEO: Arson attack baffles Mildenhall shop owners

Brett Leader and Mary Heppell at the Vape Shack. 
Picture Mark Westley ANL-160330-173345009

Brett Leader and Mary Heppell at the Vape Shack. Picture Mark Westley ANL-160330-173345009

A couple are baffled by attacks on their vapouriser shop which have escalated to arson.

Early on Sunday morning someone dropped a burning petrol soaked rag through the letterbox of The Vape Shack in High Street, Mildenhall, which in the 18 months it has been open has had stock stolen from the windows, a window smashed and a stone thrown at another window.

Brett Leader, who owns the shop with partner Mary Heppell, said: “I don’t know if it’s all connected.

“Mary and I are quite concerned because this is a deliberate attack and if it is personal where could it escalate to?

“We’ve no idea whatsoever why. We don’t have a clue. We’re a well liked business and the only thing I can put it down to is someone’s petty jealousy – someone who doesn’t like to see people doing well.”

The shop’s CCTV shows, at 12.51am, a man wearing a dark duffle coat over light trousers or jeans, trying to light something outside the door. When it does not light, he crosses the road and returns with the lit rag on the end of a stick, which he drops through the letter box.

CCTV shows the duffle-coated attacker approach the Vape Shack door with a burning rag on a stick ANL-160330-151209001

CCTV shows the duffle-coated attacker approach the Vape Shack door with a burning rag on a stick ANL-160330-151209001

A second camera showed the rag dropping through the letter box and in less than a minute, the shop is full of smoke, with flames burning on the door mat.

Brett said they were alerted by the shop alarms and because they live nearby were able to get to the shop and put the fire out before it spread.

He added: “It’s only because we we could come within five minutes that we were able to deal with it. We’re very spooked by the fact it does seem personal.

Suffolk Police say they are investigating it as arson and are looking for possible motives. They ask anyone with information to call them on 101 quoting 24679/16

Seconds after the burning rag drops through the Vape Shack letterbox, flames illuminate the shop ANL-160330-151219001

Seconds after the burning rag drops through the Vape Shack letterbox, flames illuminate the shop ANL-160330-151219001

The CCTV shows two cars pass just before the attack and a police spokeswoman said: “We’d like to hear from anyone who was driving or walking by at the time and may have seen someone waiting.”