Police have confirmed that a fire which tore through a charity shop in Little Sutton causing devastating damage was a deliberate act of arson.
A ferocious blaze broke out at Age UK on Chester Road at around 7.30pm on Tuesday (January 4), 'destroying' all its stock and creating 'extensive damage', one of the charity's bosses has revealed.
The heartless arsonists are believed to have thrown accelerants through a window on the ground floor of the building, where people live in flats on the second floor.
But, thankfully, all residents were safely evacuated by firefighters.
Two arrests have been made, but detectives are appealing for any information about the incident to come forward.
DS Rob Grantham said: “From an initial examination, it appears a side window had been opened and accelerants thrown inside causing extensive damage to the building. Sadly as a consequence the charity shop has lost its base and its entire contents. We’re carrying out a number of enquiries to establish the circumstances behind what has happened and are appealing to anyone with information to contact police.
“As part of our enquiries we’ve arrested two men and the investigation is continuing.”
Two men were seen in the area wearing fluorescent jackets and police believe the pair may have got into a Vauxhall Astra or Corsa shortly before the fire took hold.
Age UK say the shop will remain closed for the time being, but are inviting the public to make donations at other branches in the area to help get them back on their feet.
Steve Wooldridge, Head of Retail Operations at Age UK, told The Chronicle: “A fire which started on Tuesday evening has unfortunately caused extensive damage to the Age UK shop on Chester Road in Little Sutton.
"Fortunately no one was hurt in the incident, however the fire has destroyed all the stock and the shop will remain closed until further notice.
“Donations would be greatly appreciated at any of our shops in the local area to help us generate much needed funds for the charity.
"The shop is reliant on the kind donations of the local community to keep the shelves stocked so we will appreciate any donations when the shop re-opens.”