A TEENAGE boy was arrested on suspicion of arson after four fires were deliberately started at a popular beauty spot.

The 13-year-old, from Colchester, was arrested on Tuesday, after Essex Police were called to reports of a fire in Friday Woods, off Friday Wood Green, Colchester.

Walker Nicky Collins, who described the popular woodland as "her sanctuary", was the first to dial 999 after her attention was drawn to a "loud crackling sound."

Braintree and Witham Times:

She said: "I then saw a lot of smoke and flames which were about 25 feet high and moving fast through the dry gorse and up into the trees.

"I immediately called 999 and stood helpless as I watched, waiting for them to arrive and could only stamp on the grass which had ignited to try and stop the spread.

"It was upsetting as the forest has been my sanctuary throughout lockdown."

READ MORE: Pictures show devastation caused by 'deliberately started' fires

Braintree and Witham Times:

An Essex Fire Service spokesman said crews extinguished four separate fires by 11.10am, with the cause recorded as deliberate.

A police spokesman later said: "We were called at around 10.05am with reports of a fire in the woods of Bounstead Road, Colchester.

"We attended alongside the ambulance and fire services.

"No one was injured and the fire was put out safely.

"A juvenile was arrested on suspicion of arson and remains in custody."

The teenager remained in custody as of 6pm on Wednesday evening.