Amer Fareed, 39, of Sprowston Road, Newham, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on Friday, 1 July, at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
At an earlier hearing in the same court, he pleaded guilty to eight counts of reckless arson endangering life, 17 counts of arson, and two counts of possession of a Class B drug (cannabis), with three additional counts of arson being considered.
Fareed set fire to bins, skips, cars, and the front of shops with flats above them in Newham’s Forest Gate neighbourhood. Some of the bins and skips were right next to houses.
“I am pleased that Fareed is now behind bars,” said Detective Inspector Phil Moor, who led the investigation. “It was only a matter of time before his reckless fire starting resulted in someone suffering serious harm, or worse.”
“I’d like to thank the London Fire Brigade for bringing this to our attention when they noticed an increase in fires in the Forest Gate area, which significantly increased their workload.”
“This was a lengthy investigation involving hundreds of hours of CCTV trawling, which we then corroborated with phones and travel cards linked to Fareed.”
“I’d like to commend Detective Constable Ravi Raja Rayan on his outstanding detective work in analysing large volumes of phone data, CCTV footage, and other material.” Fareed had no choice but to plead guilty due to the overwhelming evidence we gathered against him.”
The London Fire Brigade contacted the police in early April 2021 after noticing an unusual increase in fires targeting bins in Newham, particularly in the E7 area, dating back to February 2021.
A dedicated CID taskforce was formed to determine whether the fires were connected and, if so, to apprehend the person responsible. The main concern was that the crime was becoming more serious, and that someone would die sooner or later.
Fareed was quickly identified as a suspect and apprehended on April 18, 2021. The next day, he was charged with five offences and remanded in prison pending trial.
However, the officers’ work did not stop there; they spent months collaborating with the London Fire Brigade and the Crown Prosecution Service to secure additional charges. Detectives used extensive CCTV and phone work to track Fareed’s movements over the months and locate him near the fires.
On 7 July 2021, he was charged with an additional 25 offences and convicted as previously stated.