Misery and cost as fire bugs hit street twice

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MINDLESS arsonists targeted two homes on the same Wigan street in separate attacks less than four weeks apart.

In the first incident, a homeowner was left with a staggering repair bill of up to £40,000 after intruders torched his front room, which doubled as an office space.

Just weeks later firebugs destroyed a Ford Ranger 4x4 after setting it alight outside another home along Wigan Road in Standish. A passing police officer was first to raise the alarm in the first incident, committed on Sunday, June 3.

After firefighters extinguished the ferocious blaze, police established that both the front door and the door leading to the living room had been kicked in - and that the blaze had been started deliberately.

The entire ground floor of the property was left with extensive smoke damage, which it is estimated could cost up to £40,000 to repair. The intruders also stole a portable television and an Aiwa hi-fi system.

Det Con Suzanne Rigby said: “Whoever is responsible for this fire has left the occupant with a monumental repair bill, in addition to the emotional stress this has also put them through.

“The only saving grace is that this fire did not seriously injure anybody as we have all seen the tragic consequences of deliberate fires. No-one is able to control a fire, so it is very lucky no-one was hurt. However, this is purely by chance and we are treating this attack very seriously. We need to catch the offenders before they can do any more harm.

“I would appeal to anyone who has information about this crime to come forward. I would also appeal to anyone who may have washed their partner’s clothing recently and found it to smell strongly of smoke. If you suspect anything at all, please call us.”

The second incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday, June 30. At about 4am a 65-year-old man was awoken by the sound of his car alarm, and, when he looked outside, his Ford Ranger truck was on fire.

The heat generated by the blaze was so strong that it caused one of the windows of his home to break, as well as causing damage to drain pipes.

Det Con Andrew Partington said: “This was a terrifying experience for the victim and the consequences of this incident could have been far more severe. We would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed this incident to call us.”

Anyone with information about either incident can call police on 0161 856 7295 or 0161 856 5307, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.