A British pensioner has been arrested over a string of forest fires in Spanish holiday spot La Manga.
Police say the 78-year-old is suspected of starting two blazes and attempting to start another two during an extended holiday last summer in a protected area known as Puerto Mayor.
They occurred between July and September.
The unnamed suspect is said to live in the area over the summer months and return to the UK in winter.
He was held after being spotted with a five-litre jerry can, matches and several lighters near to the spot where the blazes happened.
A judge will now question him in a closed court hearing before deciding whether to remand him in custody or release him on bail.
A spokesman for the Civil Guard in Murcia, the province La Manga belongs to, confirmed: ‘Civil Guard officers acting in conjunction with local police have identified and arrested a 78-year-old British man as the suspected author of four forest fires.â
He added: ‘The investigation began in July last year when a forest fire occurred in a protected area known as Puerto Mayor.
‘Similar incidents occurred on August 25 and September 2 and 27.
‘The quick intervention of firefighters avoided the destruction of large swathes of forest land, although the largest blaze burnt an area of 600 square metres.
‘Two of the fires were put out before they took hold, one because of the speedy actions of locals.â
The 78-year-old British man who spends his summer months in La Manga and in winter returns to his home country, was the main suspect.
‘He was identified and subsequently arrested after being spotted by undercover officers in the area under watch.
‘He had on him a five litre jerrycan, matches and several lighters.â