A SERIOUS fire was avoided when a passer-by alerted emergency services to a blaze at Matalan in Chester.

Cladding on the side of the store, on Stadium Way, caught fire after bins nearby went up in flames on Sunday at 3am.

Wooden pallets being lit next to a fence alongside the store are thought to have started the blaze which did not damage the interior of the store.

Police and Cheshire Fire are investigating the incident which is being treated as arson.

Chester station manager Barry Williams said: “There is a strong suspicion of deliberate ignition of wooden pallets. Police are checking CCTV footage so the investigation is on going.”