A 45-year-old man was charged and remanded in custody on Wednesday in connection with an investigation to track down a serial arsonist who has wrought havoc in the seaside village of Lamor-Baden in Brittany, western France.
Prosecutors said the man was charged in the light of "the evidence gathered in the investigation and despite the suspect's denials". He is believed to be a resident of the village.
The series of arson attacks began back in December 2011 when three unoccupied homes were burnt down. A building next to the Post Office was also hit as well as the home of a local priest.
The arsonist has also destroyed holiday homes and a brasserie in recent months, as well as four holiday homes, but so far the fires have not led to any fatalities.
Police have been working on the theory the arsonist is a male resident of the village.
In February public prosecutor Thierry Phelippeau announced that DNA tests would be carried out on all men in the village to see if they could match it with a DNA sample found in one of the burnt out buildings.
“We feel the culprit is getting bolder in his choice of targets and I’m afraid that if these fires start up again, there will be a real risk to lives,” said Phelippeau at the time.
However, he said, “in the case of a refusal, that person will be of interest to investigators.”
Earlier this year the arsonist struck for the ninth and tenth times much to the dismay of police and residents, who will be hoping Wednesday's arrest marks the end of their ordeal.
Larmor-Baden lies in the Gulf of Morbihan on the south coast of Brittany.
Photo: Google maps