It could have been murder
By DAWN COHEN
A BALLINA removalist company believes someone is trying to burn them out of business. Manager David Cupitt said arsonists had deliberately targeted the Holiday Coast Removals' trucks to destroy the company. "It could have been murder," Mr Cupitt said yesterday. "Our drivers often sleep in the trucks after a long trip to Sydney or Melbourne. All three of them could have had guys in them. "Whoever did this deserves to be in jail, and they should throw away the key." About 10.30pm on Saturday, someone entered the grounds, located in Ballina's Southern Cross Industrial Estate, and forced entry into the trucks. Lismore police duty officer Glen Gilbert said petrol was probably used to ignite and destroy the vehicles. Mr Cupitt is managing the company for Newcastle friend Jim Baker, who has owned the business for about 18 months. The Ballina-born manager was alerted late on Saturday night by Richard Unwin, owner of Darragh's High-Class Removals, who lives and works close to the site. One of Mr Unwin's own vehicles had been set alight, but was not badly damaged. A spokeswoman for Mr Unwin said he was in the shower, when he heard a popping noise. "He rushed out dressed only in a towel. I went to see what was going on and he told me to call the fire brigade. He put out the fire in our truck, but saw smoke from the other place," she said. "He couldn't get his hose to reach, but he found their fire hose. He stood in the middle of their burning trucks hosing them until the fire brigade came." Detective Mick Ruskin, from Ballina police, said investigations were continuing.