'Idiot' driver torches car, starts bushfire in East Lismore
A VEHICLE was deliberately set alight in East Lismore to avoid being identified after police called off a pursuit due to dangerous driving.
Late on Sunday afternoon the dark smoke from the blaze could be clearly seen across Lismore.
A combined effore by the Rural Fire Service Alphadale and Wyrallah brigades and Lismore Fire & Rescue saw the fire brought under control and extinguished.
Richmond Police District Acting Inspector Anthony Smith confirmed a fire which occured in bushland above the Limore cemetery on Sunday afternoon was believed to be the result of the ute being deliberately torched.
"Police were informed by members of the public, who complained about the manner of driving of a white Mazda ute ... so they initiated a pursuit at 4.35pm," he said.
"But the driver was speeding and after he crossed over to drive on the wrong side of Ballina Rd, (and) police called off the pursuit at 4.37pm.
"Police attempted to stop the car on Parkwalk Drive near William Blair then on to Ballina Rd through Lismore Heights, then he crossed the wrong side of the road on Ballina Rd so police stopped because he was driving like an idiot and he was putting members of the public at risk."
Around 30 minutes later police were informed of a car on fire in bush above the cemetery.
"Then half an hour later police found the ute on fire in East Lismore on Crawford Rd," Acting Insp Smith said.
"Members of the public saw the smoke and called the fire in.
"The car was on fire and we understand there was only one occupant in the vehicle."
Act Insp Smith said despite the fire, police had the vehcile registriation details and were confident of an arrest.
"There's no doubt the ute was deliberately set alight," he said.
"Police are making further enquiries and it's now a matter of tracking the person down."
RFS Inspector Daniel Ainsworth praised the efforts of Alphadale and Wyrallah brigades at the incident.
He reminded everyone that the dry weather called for caution and fire permits were required if people wanted to do hazard reduction burns.