‘Anarchist’ sought over vandalism

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Published: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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Police investigating arson and vandalism attacks around the Bristol area are linking more than 100 incidents.

Avon and Somerset Police revealed the connection as the force announced a £10,000 Crimestoppers reward to help track down a suspected anarchist.

Anarchist and animal liberation groups have said they carried out at least 60 attacks in and around the city, which include an arson attack on a police firing range in Portishead which caused millions of pounds of damage.

Officers have revealed they want to speak to Huw Norfolk in connection with two of the attacks.

The 27-year-old is being linked to an arson attack at a communications mast in Bath in January last year and criminal damage to the outside of the Bristol Post newspaper office in Bristol city centre in August 2011.

Charity Crimestoppers is offering the reward in the hope of catching Norfolk, who is also known by the nickname Badger.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Bevan, who is leading the investigation, said: “Norfolk is wanted in connection with these two serious crimes and we’re asking the public to help us to find him.

“The arson attack at Bathampton mast on January 3 2013 caused damage worth several hundred thousand pounds and affected TV, radio and mobile phone signals to thousands of homes and businesses, including sole and small-scale traders and independent businesses that rely on their telephones to work and trade.

“It robbed many people of their only lifeline in the event of an emergency and put the lives of thousands of innocent adults and children at risk.

“The incident at the Bristol Post building on August 12 2011 saw thousands of pounds worth of mindless criminal damage caused to the premises. Windows were smashed and paint was thrown over the front of the building.

“Both incidents caused huge disruption to the lives of innocent people and we’re taking them extremely seriously.”

Norfolk is described as white, with a slight build and around 5ft 9in tall. He has green eyes and is known to sometimes wear spectacles. He has brown facial stubble and brown hair, and has previously had blond highlights with a long single dreadlock at the back of his head.

He is known to regularly change his appearance and give false details, including a name of Geoffrey or Howard. He is also heavily tattooed.

Police believe Norfolk may not be in England or the UK and could be in Europe or further afield. He has links to anarchist communities and the areas surrounding Bristol, Bath, Cheltenham, Pembrokeshire and London.

A dedicated police operation was established to investigate whether there was a link between incidents of arson and criminal damage in Avon and Somerset during the last four years. Police are investigating more than 100 incidents as part of Operation Rhone. Norfolk is wanted in connection with two incidents only.

Mr Bevan added: “We are taking every incident extremely seriously and we’re committed to bringing those guilty of committing them to justice.

“As part of the investigation we have reviewed each incident and we are now treating them as linked as we believe this new approach is the best way to take the investigation forward.

“Each offence committed has the potential to seriously pollute the environment – by destroying natural habitats and protected Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and releasing acrid smoke and other harmful materials into the atmosphere.

“In many cases they also pose the risk of serious injury or even the death of innocent adults and children.

“We are continuing to explore numerous lines of inquiry including investigating claims of responsibility which have been made on various online websites or documents.

“We will pursue every avenue we can in order to bring whoever is guilty of committing the offences to justice.

“We want to hear from anyone who has information about the people they believe may be responsible for committing these crimes or people they may have seen acting suspiciously.”

Published: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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