Tree burner banned from Dagenham streets

�A man who repeatedly set fire to trees in a Dagenham street — frightening nearby residents — has been banned from the area for almost two years.

Stanley Blake, 42, torched the trees growing by the side of Broad Street, Dagenham, on at least three occasions this year.

The blaze damaged a telegraph pole causing a number of homes to temporarily lose their phone line, according to residents living in the area.

Blake, of Porters Avenue, Dagenham, has been handed an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) by the council and police barring him from entering Broad Street and nearby Armstead Walk until April 2013.

A leaflet with Blake’s name and photograph and the terms of his Asbo was hand-delivered to residents and shops in Broad Street and Armstead Walk, so they can contact the police if he enters the area.

Breaking the terms of an Asbo is a criminal offence and if he is seen in either roads he can be arrested.

One resident, who lives opposite the trees and wants to remain anonymous, said Blake first set the trees alight in mid February.

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“I could see this waft of smoke through the window and looked outside. There were flames coming off the tree and the telegraph poles.

“The fire brigade put it out and luckily no-one was hurt, but I was worried the pole was going to fall down.

“But then a few weeks later he did it again, this time twice in one day. I couldn’t believe it. I’m glad he’s been banned from the area, I feel a little safer now.”

Cllr Jeanne Alexander, cabinet member for crime, justice and communities said Blake’s Asbo was “excellent news” for local people and added: “The council has worked to ensure such unacceptable behaviour on our streets is not allowed to take over the lives of other law abiding residents.”

Police have urged anyone who witnesses Blake breaching his conditions to contact River Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 020 8721 2575 or the police non-urgent reporting number 0300 123 1212.