A MAN has denied being responsible for setting light to two police cars.

The vehicles were set on fire while parked at Harwich Police Station in Main Road last month.

People living nearby were forced to evacuate their homes as firefighters tackled the flames.

Fortunately, they were able to prevent the fire from spreading any further.

Officers later arrested Steven Moran, of All Saints Close, Dovercourt, on suspicion of arson and he was later charged.


During a plea and trial preparation hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday, the 62-year-old denied arson in relation to the two police cars - both BMW X5s.

He also denied another charge of criminal damage which he is said to have caused to a cell door and racially aggravated harassment of a police officer.

Judge David Turner QC, scheduled a five-day trial .

Addressing Moran, he said: “This case will be listed to come up in the fortnight beginning September 21.

“At the moment jury trials are not happening but I am hopeful they will be by then.

“You will need to put in a defence statement.

“Your legal team will help you prepare that.”

Judge Turner said he would preserve credit for Moran should he change his pleas within the next month.

Moran is also charged with dangerous driving and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Both incidents are said to have occurred before the fire.

No pleas were entered for those charges as Moran has been unable to have a conference with his solicitors about them.

If they do go to trial, then it will run separately to the arson trial as they are different incidents.

Following the fire, Chief Insp Lily Benbow, district commander for Tendring, heaped praise on her emergency service colleagues and nearby residents for their help.

She said: “I want to thank the fire service for their quick response to the initial fire which prevented it from escalating further.

“I also want to thank the members of the community who assisted us in evacuating their homes and supported us during the initial period of this investigation.

“There is a fantastic community in Harwich and we really appreciated their support and understanding.”