DESTROYED: The litter bin which was targeted by arsonists
DESTROYED: The litter bin which was targeted by arsonists

ALARM has been raised over a series of arson attacks in West Auckland.

As many as four fires were lit in the space of a month, with one potentially putting people’s lives at risk.

West Auckland parish councillor Neil Simpson said two litter bins had been set alight as well as a bug hotel created as part of the village’s in-bloom activities, along with waste land near a resident’s garden.

Cllr Simpson said: “Luckily the fire brigade got there or else the woman in the bungalow, who is 86, would have had difficulty.”

He added that the next door neighbour is handicapped and has mobility issues and his life would have been in danger had the fire spread to his home.

He was also disappointed that the bug hotel had been targeted as it is part of the village’s bid in the Northumbria-in-Bloom competition, in which West Auckland won gold last year at only its second time of trying. He said: “It is absolutely ridiculous. A lot of people are putting in a lot of hard work and it is one or two cowards, who think they are clever, who are undoing this.”

Police confirmed they are investigating one of the incidents.

A spokeswoman said: “We received reports of rubbish on fire on waste land behind Ennerdale Grove, West Auckland, at about 10.20pm on April 17.

“No-one was injured but damage was caused to the fence of a nearby property.

“Anyone who has any information relating to suspicious fires can report it via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, Firestoppers on 0800 1695558 or by calling 999 in an emergency.”