‘Arsonists will not beat us’

A COUPLE whose uninsured caravan was razed to the ground in a fire have vowed not to let arsonists derail their dream of setting up a pedigree pig farm.

Twisted metal and melted plastic is all that remains of the caravan John Marriott and Kerry Skinner had set up in Harper’s Drove, Ramsey Heights, after it was destroyed by a fire started in the early hours of the morning of Sunday, November 13.

The couple had spent �8,000 on the caravan and fencing to create a second home from which Ms Skinner could tend to their pedigree Tamworth pigs in the neighbouring yard.

They checked on the rare pigs at about 11pm on Saturday night, and the fire was started between then and the fire service being called at 2.30am on Sunday.

Flames from the fire reached 15ft, said Mr Marriott, burning out one side of the adjoining fence.

The caravan was uninsured, meaning that Mr Marriott has lost everything he invested the property – but he considers himself lucky because Ms Skinner was not staying in the caravan when the arsonists struck.

“She could’ve been staying there when the fire started, and then I would have lost my missus,” said Mr Marriott, 46, of Ramsey.

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“Her son and her friend were going to stop in the caravan on that night. I said to them to stay another weekend, and it’s lucky I did, because if I had let them they would be dead.

“But I can’t even think about that. It gets inside your head. It makes you feel ill to think that I could have been burying them this week.”

Mr Marriott, a ground worker, said he believes he knows who is responsible and is co-operating with police as they conduct their enquiries.

The caravan was to be used as a stopover to allow Ms Skinner to check on the pigs regularly, especially as the Tamworth sow was pregnant and due to give birth on November 27.

The pig went into labour on the night of the fire – because of the stress, Mr Marriott believes – and two of the six pedigree piglets, which are a registered “at risk” species, died.

However, the attack has made Mr Marriott even more determined to make a success of the pig farm.

He said: “I’m going to replace everything that was here: I’m determined.

“I spent so much time on it, but I won’t be put off, and I am going to rebuild it all.

“I’ve got to start clearing the scene now that the police have been because every time I look at it, it makes me feel sick.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident to come forward.

Detective constable Vanessa Dodds, investigating, said: “I would appeal to anyone with any information about the fire to call police.”

INFORMATION: Anyone with any information should call DC Dodds on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

DESTRUCTION: The remains of the caravan owned by Kerry Skinner, pictured, and her partner John Marriott. Picture: HELEN DRAKE 3232HD1111.