AN arson suspect has appeared in court following a string of fires in Harwich.

Christopher Parker, of Alexandra Street, Harwich, appeared before magistrates in Chelmsford on Wednesday where he made no plea in response to four charges of arson.

The case will now be taken to Chelmsford Crown Court where there will be a second hearing on Tuesday, March 5.

The charges were made against Parker, 33, following two fires in Harwich on Friday, one of which involved the town’s historic LV18 lightship as the fire brigade battled the blaze for seven hours.

The first fire was started at 7.22pm in George Street as Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) responded to reports that two vans were on fire near Harwich bus station.

A third fire had been started in a railway station building.

Then, shortly before 9pm, ECFRS were called to their fourth fire of the evening when Harwich’s historic LV18 lightship was set alight.

Firefighters remained at the scene until 4am, working alongside the coastguard and Port of Harwich staff to contain the fire to the engine room.