Police Appeal For Information On Arson Attack In Walsall

Detectives investigating an arson attack at a Walsall shop have released CCTV footage of a man igniting two petrol bombs moments before they are hurled through the entrance.

The clip shows the suspect wearing a distinctive two-tone blue hooded top − lighting the bottles at a bus shelter in Wednesbury Road, Pleck, at 5.25pm on Monday 27, June before running off camera.

Since the attack − that saw a halal meat store suffer extensive fire damage, investigators have said they are keeping an open mind over the motive.

But latest enquiries suggest that, contrary to media and social media speculation, the incident was not a racially or religiously motivated hate crime.

Detective Inspector Greg Evans, said: "This was undoubtedly a targeted attack − but we have a positive line of enquiry suggesting it was not based on the victim’s membership of any ethnic group.''

"We’ve been speaking to local people and the feeling is that this is not a racially-motivated offence and they have not perceived any increased tension in recent days − that’s sentiment echoed by the council’s community cohesion group.

"We can’t get a clear image of the offender’s face from the CCTV footage − though he’s understood to be a white man − but he is wearing a distinctive two-tone blue jacket.

"I’m convinced someone will recognise that jacket and suspect who may be behind this arson. This was a shocking attack on a store in broad daylight and one which could easily have resulted in serious injuries or fatalities.

"We need to know who this man is…so please call us or the independent charity Crimestoppers with information."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Violent Crime Team at Wednesfield police station on the 101 number or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.