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Police step up patrols after firebomb attack on councillor's car

Graeme Campbell was woken in the early hours of Monday to find his BMW had been set alight.

Graeme Campbell: The Tory was in his house with his family.
Graeme Campbell: The Tory was in his house with his family.

Police have stepped up patrols in a residential area following a firebomb attack on a car at a councillor's home.

South Lanarkshire councillor Graeme Campbell was woken in the early hours of Monday to find his BMW had been set alight while he and his family were asleep.

A passer-by had raised the alarm about the blaze, which also caused some damage to another BMW and the house in Strathaven.

No-one was injured in the incident.

Police Scotland said they are carrying out extensive inquiries to establish what happened, and they are combing through a large volume of CCTV images.

Detective Inspector Alan MacDonald, based in Cambuslang, said: "Luckily a passer-by noticed the car on fire and it was extinguished before it caused even more damage or harm.

"Extensive police inquiries are being carried out into this incident to trace whoever is responsible for setting this fire.

"A large amount of CCTV footage has been gathered and officers are studying this footage to gather more information on people seen in the area around the time of the fire, or vehicles seen in the local area."

Issuing an appeal for information, he added: "I would ask anyone who has seen someone acting suspiciously in or around Fortrose Gardens to contact us as soon as possible.

"I would also urge people who were driving in the roads in and around the town of Strathaven between 12.30am and 1.30am early on Monday morning to contact us.

"We would particularly like to hear from drivers with dash-cam footage who were driving on the roads leading to Glassford, Chapelton, Stonehouse, Hamilton and Sandford, as your camera may have captured footage which could be vital to this inquiry."

Emergency services were alerted to the blaze in Fortrose Gardens at around 1.25am on Monday.

Chief Superintendent Alan Waddell, divisional commander for the Lanarkshire division, added: "While it is understandable that local people may be concerned, there is nothing to suggest there is any wider threat to the community.

"We have increased our high-visibility uniform and plain-clothes patrols in the area. I would urge anyone with information that could assist our inquiry to come forward.

"If you have any concerns, please get in touch with Police Scotland via 101 or speak to any of the officers."

'I condemn that incident strongly, very strongly and unreservedly, and I would take the opportunity to send my best wishes to councillor Campbell and to his family, I'm sure they were deeply shocked at what occurred.'
Nicola Sturgeon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the attack at FMQs. 

Conservative MSP Liam Kerr  said: "On Monday, councillor Graeme Campbell was woken up in the middle of the night. 

"His car had been firebombed, flames were spreading to his house and could easily have killed him and his family or spread to nearby homes. 

"Will she (Sturgeon) condemn the attack and does she agree that any threat or direct action towards politicians who are just carrying out their duties at any level and of any party is an attack on our very democracy and must be met with robust and decisive action?" 

In response, Ms Sturgeon said: "I condemn that incident strongly, very strongly and unreservedly, and I would take the opportunity to send my best wishes to councillor Campbell and to his family, I'm sure they were deeply shocked at what occurred. 

"I cannot and will not comment on the specific incident because is it a matter for police investigation but I do think that attacks on politicians of any nature are to be condemned. 

"We live in a society where we should encourage and embrace robust debate but we should try to conduct those robust debates in a civilised and respectful way. 

"None of us in this chamber live up to than on all occasions but all of us should try harder to do so because our democracy and the people we serve deserve no less." 

No arrests have been made but Police Scotland said they are treating the incident as suspicious and explained that their investigations are continuing.

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