Arsonists torch car dealer’s van

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THE owner of a St Helens car dealership had a van parked on his driveway set alight.

Police say Andrew Blackburn was asleep upstairs in the home he shares with his wife and nine-year-old son in Nutgrove Hall Drive when he awoke and spotted an orange glow outside.

When he looked out of the window he saw his Volkswagen transporter van, worth around £22,000, on fire.

Mr Blackburn, who owns Andy’s VW Centre in Lingholme Road in Thatto Heath, called both the fire service, who put out the blaze, and the police due to the suspicious nature of the fire.

Detectives believe the arsonists threw something heavy containing a flammable liquid through the windscreen of the van, setting it alight.

Although the blaze - at around midnight on Monday, February 18 - caused significant damage to the van, it did not spread elsewhere.

DC Steve Kellet, of St Helens CID, said: “This was a reckless and dangerous thing to do and we are doing all we can to trace the people responsible. The family were asleep in their beds at the time and the fire could have spread to the house and put them at risk.

“They are understandably very upset and worried. The police are supporting them and keeping them informed about the investigation.

“It is important that we establish why this has happened and who is responsible. I am keen to hear from anyone who has heard anything about this incident or anyone living in this area who saw anything suspicious on the night itself.”

Anyone with information can call St Helens CID on 0151 777 1584 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.