Deliberate fire started at Charnock Richard business amid Winter hill moorland fires

Fire crews were called to the incident at Charnock Richard
Fire crews were called to the incident at Charnock Richard
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A man from Grimsargh has condemned the actions of "mindless idiots" who set fire to land at his business in Charnock Richard - creating even more pressure for the fire service.

Wayne Bretherton, Director at a restaurant and leisure complex called The Laurels at Charnock, said he was alerted to the fire when a fire engine arrived at the site on Preston Road on Monday evening.

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Mr Bretherton says that the team had just finished a staff meeting at around 10.20pm when they saw blue flashing lights outside the business.

The 36-year-old business owner says the fire, which reached a height of around 20ft, could easily have spread and evolved into another serious incident.

He said: "We were completely unaware as the fire was down on one of the fields we are hoping to develop.

"The fire officer told me they had received a report of a fire on the land so we immediately set about trying to locate it.

"We found the fire just off the golf course and were met by flames 20ft high.

"I couldn't believe it, I just thought what absolute scumbags - why on earth would anyone do that especially at the moment.

"The emergency services are so stretched at the moment.

"The firefighters told me how hard they had been working and it's just so disrespectful.

"They had been at the moor fires and had to come to this as well.

"They had had limited sleep and then they had to come out to this because some mindless idiots decided to light a fire.

"Thankfully, a passing walker spotted the fire and reported it.

"If it was later, it could have spread much more rapidly.

"Because it was tackled in the early stages the fire service managed to contain it which was extremely fortunate."

Fire crews confirmed they sent one engine to the fire.

A spokesman said: "Given the moorland fires and the recent dry weather it is not wise to leave any fires unattended.

"We have been dealing with the moorland fires for several days now and the service should not have to deal with preventable incidents like this."

Nobody was injured in the fire.

Crews spent around one-and-a half hours at the incident.