Piha fires: Man arrested and charged with arson

6:03 pm on 11 May 2017

A 19-year-old Piha man faces three arson charges after a spate of fires in the west Auckland beach community.

Adey's Place fish and chip shop in Piha was set alight, one of several fires lit in the beachside town overnight.

The fire that destroyed Adey's Place was one of several lit in the beachside town last week. Photo: RNZ / Sarah Robson

The man has been charged over two fires that were among several in Piha over the past nine days.

He was arrested this morning in Tauranga, police said.

Waitakere Police area commander Inspector Scott Webb said two of the arson charges and one burglary charge related to the fire that destroyed the Adey's Place fish and chip shop last week, and a large scrub fire near the store.

The third arson charge was over a fire in the Auckland city area within the same period, he said.

"Piha is a tight-knit community and we understand this has been a stressful time for residents. Police would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding.

"We have received an overwhelming response from local residents and the wider public who have come forward with information."

He said police were still investigating multiple other fires in the area.

Mr Webb said police were not looking for anyone else over the fires at this stage, and the arrested man could face further charges.

Piha resident Adam May, who lives behind the Fish and Chip shop, said he was relieved, and he now hoped he would be able to sleep in peace.

"I was sleeping 30m away from the fire, if the wind was facing a different direction, people could have died. So yeah, I feel relieved and more safe. My girlfriend felt quite uneasy about this as well, probably more than me."

The accused man will appear in the Tauranga District Court tomorrow.

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