Mobile library returns to Torrington after 'devastating' arson attack destroys van

The vehicle was completely destroyed in the fire Credit: Devon County Council

A charity mobile library is back on the road after the van it operated from was destroyed in a 'devastating' arson attack.

The service in Torrington had to be suspended after the fire in July, but is able to resume today (11 August) after a replacement vehicle has been found to cover the route.

Libraries Unlimited Chief Executive Alex Kittow said: “We’re so grateful and heartened by the support of local partners, the community and the dedicated work of our library staff who have pulled together to turn this devastating situation around.

“A full clean-up process has taken place to remove the burnt vehicle and to clean up the damaged area. 

"Our mobile library assistant has been contacting customers to keep them informed and we will do another round of calls to let them know that we are back on the road.

“Using the relief mobile library does leave our service vulnerable as this vehicle is used to cover vehicle services, MOTs, times when other vehicles need to be off the road.

"We hope that we can find a permanent solution to the loss of our Torrington Mobile Library.”

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service identified the fire as deliberate earlier this summer.

Libraries Unlimited is working with insurers to establish the value of the loss of not only the vehicle but IT equipment, books, and damage to the building and car park area. 

Kate Greaves from Torrington Library said: “Our team is really pleased to get mobile library back on the road and to resume our vital in-person library service for hundreds of customers living in our rural communities, across North Devon, Torridge and into West Devon.

“We’re in the middle of our Summer Reading Challenge and we know that many children living in the countryside are relying on us to get books to them so they can achieve their goal of reading six books across the school holidays. We’ll be really pleased to see all our customers again.”