Neighbour saves fire bid family

Wreckage of the fire at Battersby Street, Leigh
Wreckage of the fire at Battersby Street, Leigh

A YOUNG family were targeted in an arson attack which caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

Jennifer Pritchard and her five-year-old son Jack were asleep at home when a gang of youths deliberately set fire to a wheelie bin at the back of the house.

The flames quickly spread to destroy fencing, a shed and children’s play equipment.

Neighbours alerted the family and contacted Jennifer’s partner Daniel Wolstenhulme, who was visiting a friend’s house.

Firefighters warned that the blaze, which took place at around midnight on March 27, was moments away from reaching the property and putting the entire household in danger.

Ms Pritchard, 24, of Battersby Street, Leigh, said: “I think it’s disgusting. I daren’t imagine what could have happened if our neighbours hadn’t woken us up.

“A group of lads were spotted pulling next door’s wheelie bin in front of our house and stuffing it with paper before starting the fire.

“At first I thought the kitchen was on fire. It was frightening. Jack’s toys and trampoline have been wrecked and the shed has been destroyed with Daniel’s golf equipment.

“Police have said the incident was caught on CCTV so we’re hoping they will be able to catch who did this.

“A number of bins have been set on fire in the surrounding streets in recent weeks. It’s time something was done to stop this kind of attack happening.”

Residents are now calling for alley-gates to be introduced at their back of their homes in an effort to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area,

Hundreds of alleygates have already been introduced across the borough in a bid to stamp out crime.

Home watch co-ordinator Cath Taylor said: “We have been campaigning since October 2009 to have alley-gates put in Battersby Street, Brideoake Street and Lingard Street.

“We have had numerous problems with fly-tipping and youths congregating near the Bedford Glass factory.

“We’re also experiencing problems with bins fires and have seen four incidents in the space of a year.

“This latest fire was the most alarming because it caused extensive damage to a back gate, shed and back door and window to a house on Battersby Street.”

Anyone with information, call police or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.