Arson attacks hit BMX club

SPOKE IN THEIR WHEEL -- committee-members, volunteers and young riders at the Sellers Wood track in Bulwell, where the Nottingham Outlaws BMX Club is based
SPOKE IN THEIR WHEEL -- committee-members, volunteers and young riders at the Sellers Wood track in Bulwell, where the Nottingham Outlaws BMX Club is based

ARSONISTS have launched a “heartbreaking” spate of attacks on the award-winning Bulwell-based BMX club, Nottingham Outlaws.

At least five fires have been started at the club, off Sellers Wood Drive, in the last month.

Damage has been caused to the track, leaving volunteers and members devastated.

The latest fires were reported to the Dispatch on Wednesday — exactly 100 days before the London 2012 Olympics when BMX-riding will be among the sports.

The club is currently one of the biggest in the country. Before Christmas, it was visited by world champion and Olympic gold-medal hopeful Shanaze Reade, who took part in a club race.

Simon Bradford, welfare officer for the Outlaws, said: “The arsonists are killing it for everyone. It is just heartbreaking.

“We’ve got some kids at the club who have come to us from being idiots on the streets and are turning their lives around.

“These fires are nothing to do with our members. Instead of doing this, the kids who are responsible should come and have a go at BMX. We are here for the community.”

The first arson attack happened on Monday March 19 when a pile of rubbish was torched.

A series of small fires was started the next day and then, a tree was set on fire on the evening of Wednesday March 21.

In the last week, there have been two further blazes.

The attacks are hampering training for members, who are due to compete at the upcoming world championships.

The club also has a big national competition coming up on Saturday May 5.

Outlaws chairman Phil Gray-Blest said:

“It is always disappointing when things like this happen. But we have had setbacks in the past and we are here to stay.”

The club, which has flourished in the last eight years, has 210 members, aged from four upwards. It stages weekly training sessions and race events.

The police are working with the fire service to investigate the arson attacks.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police non-emergency number, 101, or the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.