THE fire investigation team which helped take down a Harwich arsonist has spoken on the probe which helped lead to his conviction.

Christopher Parker, 34, was jailed for five years for his arson attacks in the town.

Parker set fire to two vans, Harwich railway station, and the LV18 lightship in February.

Jailed - Christopher Parker was sentenced to a five-year prison termJailed - Christopher Parker was sentenced to a five-year prison term (Image: Essex Police)

Now, following his sentencing last week, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s (ECFRS) fire investigation officers have lifted the lid on the investigation.

The fire service plays a crucial role beyond just extinguishing fires.

Every fire they attend is thoroughly investigated, and if there is an indication of arson, the case is escalated to the fire investigation officers (FIOs).

ECFRS has a 14-strong team of highly trained FIOs who cover the county.

The team is supported by Fizz, ECFRS’s fire investigation dog and her handler Graham Currie.

Fizz is trained to detect accelerants and other signs of arson.

Fire investigator officers Steve Osborn and Quentin Sage led the investigation into the fire on LV18.

Probe - officers assessing the LV18 lightship fire using live drone footageProbe - officers assessing the LV18 lightship fire using live drone footage (Image: ECFRS)

With the assistance of Fizz and Graham, they uncovered crucial evidence which helped Essex Police secure a conviction.

Mr Sage said: “Working with our team, including Fizz, allows us to uncover critical evidence that might otherwise go unnoticed.

“In this case, the collaborative effort was vital in securing a conviction and ensuring justice was served.”

When a fire is suspected to be deliberate or suspicious, the FIOs will work to analyse evidence from the scene to assist the police in prosecuting those responsible.

They also provide expert evidence on the origin and cause of a fire to coroners and criminal or civil courts.

Boss - Andre Turner, fire investigation managerBoss - Andre Turner, fire investigation manager (Image: ECFRS)

Andre Turner, fire investigation team manager, emphasised the team’s expertise and collaboration with the police.

He said: “We want people to know that if they start fires deliberately, we have the expertise to help the police track them down.

“Our fire investigation team is second to none and we are dedicated to helping the police bring arsonists to justice.

“The conviction of the Harwich arsonist is just the latest in a string of successful convictions we have helped with. 

“I’m proud of the work our fire investigation team has been involved with, it is a testament to what can be achieved when emergency services work together.”