A FUNDRAISER in support of arson-hit charity Dawlish Community Transport has reached more than £4,000 in 36 hours.

The Go Fund Me page has received widespread support following the devastating blaze which destroyed at least five of the charity’s vehicles.

In spite of the catastrophic fire, charity bosses have been able to make arrangements to provide transport for a school trip for youngsters at Westcliff School today.

With the help from other partner organisations, it is hoped all the charity’s transport services will be up and running this week. 

The attack, which happened in the early hours of Friday morning, has decimated the charity’s fleet.

Arsonists set light to two wheelchair adapted/accessible mini-buses and three vehicles.

Police are treating the incident as arson and have appealed for information.

The Go Fund Me appeal Get Dawlish Community Transport Moving Again, set up by Peter Worsely, says: ‘These mini buses are a vital resource to our community, run by volunteers.’

Sally Preston, charity office manager, said: ‘It goes without saying that all the trustees, staff and volunteers linked to our charity are totally devastated by what has happened and are still coming to terms with the impact of this on the services we provide to our community, and indeed on us all personally.

‘With the help of many of the organisations we work with, all our services will be operational again during the coming week.’

Sally also thanked the emergency services for their efforts. 

Police are appealing for information following the incident.

DS Martin Key said: 'We can confirm that this fire was started deliberately, and we are investigating this matter as arson.

'In total six minibuses have been destroyed with a seventh vehicle likely to be written off such was the damage. 

'These minibuses belong to the local community transport and are vital to the community; this is an appalling act of vandalism and we are doing all we can to locate and arrest the person responsible.'

He added: 'We are appealing to the public for dashcam, CCTV and doorbell footage that could assist with our enquiries, especially in the Barton Terrace area. 

'We would like to speak with anyone who was in the area and noticed anything suspicious. We understand the impact this crime will have on the community of Dawlish, so please help us identify the person responsible.'

Anyone who may be able to assist with the police investigation is asked to contact police via the Force website or by telephone on 101, quoting crime reference 50230195029.

Support has been flooding in from across Dawlish and the surrounding area. 

To make a donation, click here