A SUSPECTED arson attack has left a business battling at least £500,000 worth of damage after its lorries were set on fire.

Directors at JKS Construction have spoken out after five of their lorries were destroyed in the attack, and say further damage was prevented by two drivers arriving to start their shifts.

Essex Police has launched an investigation after the five vehicles were completely destroyed at the Rochford based company, on Purdeys Way, and two more were vandalised.

Service manager, Giles Offord, who has worked at the company for 20 years, told the Echo the lorries were parked there because the drivers had been furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 59-year-old arrived at the scene in the early hours of Tuesday morning, while the fires were still burning.

He said: “It’s business as usual at the moment, but when we start to get back into the swing of things, we will be short.

“We think there was a maximum of two people involved.

“They pushed open a gap in the fence to get into our top yard.

“They attempted to break into the two lorries, which are now undergoing repairs.

“We have reason to believe they would have set fire to more, but they were either disturbed by our drivers or thought it was getting too hairy.

“When the drivers arrived at 4.50am, the fires had only just started. They were put out by 6.30am.

“We think it’s got to be a competitor of some sort who’s done this. Replacements won’t be available until next year.”

Jeremy Suttling, the director of the haulage firm, added: “Police are looking through CCTV at the moment.

“Some of the lorries were only a year old. They cost around £120,000 each. It’s really not ideal, especially at the moment.”

Police officers are urging anyone with information to come forward and contact 101, quoting incident 125 of 30 June.

Detective constable Iain White added: “This reckless criminal behaviour has caused damage costing several hundred thousand pounds and significant disruption to the business.”

Alternatively, to report information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.