UPDATE: Tuesday, 4 August
POLICE have arrested a Warburton man who allegedly attempted to burn down a tree in town last month.
Yarra Ranges Crime Investigation Unit (CIU) Detective Senior Constable Ian Brown told the Mail that police today arrested and charged a 39-year-old Warburton man with causing a fire in a country area with intent to cause damage.
The man was bailed and will appear at Ringwood Magistrates’ Court on 11 December.
POLICE are calling for witnesses to come forward after an alleged arson attack on a tree in Warburton over the weekend.
At 4pm on Sunday 19 July, passers-by noticed a man trying to light a fire under a large pine tree in Dammans Road, Warburton.
Yarra Ranges Crime Investigation Unit (CIU) Detective Senior Constable Ian Brown said the man was seen carrying sticks and bark, placing it at the base of the tree, and setting it alight.
A couple passing by saw the male and spoke to him at the time, and Det Sen Const Brown said the man told the couple the tree was “not indigenous” and a “pest”.
He said the flames reached about eight metres high, but were quickly extinguished by the CFA, who responded after calls from witnesses.
Det Sen Const Brown said anyone who might have witnessed any suspicious behaviour, or who saw the man light the fire, should contact police or Crime Stoppers.
“It was a very public sort of area, especially on a Sunday afternoon, right by the Yarra River,” he said.
“There could have been a number of people that would have seen that.”
He said the man would have been at the scene of the crime for “at least 20 minutes” while he gathered materials for the fire.
The ex-captain of Warburton Fire Brigade also saw the man at the scene and spoke to him at the time, according to Det Sen Const Brown.
The man has been described as aged about 30-40 years old, Australian and Caucasian, with light hair sticking out underneath a black beanie, with a scabby or acne-scarred face and was about six feet tall.
Police have released a facial image of the man they would like to speak to in relation to the fire.
Det Sen Const Brown said the tree involved in the fire was “scarred” but would live.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or to contact Yarra Ranges CIU on 9739 2300.
In this week’s edition of the Mail, a report on this arson attack listed the road as “Damons Road”. This is incorrect, and the correct spelling of the road is “Dammans Road”.
The Mail apologises for any inconvenience this error may have caused.