Suspected arson attack fire at Holland garden centre

A family-run garden centre went up in flames ? causing ?20,000 worth of damage ? after youths broke into the site and lit candles.

Bosses at Holland Garden Centre in Bromley Cross knew young people had being going onto the premises to skate ? and had even put up signs asking them not to cause any damage.

It is thought the group had been playing with candles stored in one the polytunnels on Sunday night ? but run away when they heard sirens.

Police and the fire service have now launched a joint investigation and have drawn up a list of suspects.

Mick Greenwood, joint owner of Holland Garden Centre, said: ?All of the stock in the tunnel was completely destroyed and three of the panels caught fire.

?It has cost us at least ?20,000 in damage. Then again, it could have been much worse.

?We were lucky really. It could have spread to the entire building.?

Fire crews were called to the blaze at 9.45pm on Sunday. Pallets storing plants and furniture were destroyed and smoke also spread to main garden centre building causing further damage.

Inspector Wayne Readfern said: ?The owners of the garden centre knew youths were going on to the site to skate. They had even been polite enough to leave a sign asking people not to damage the garden centre.

?This is a classic example of the minority ruining things for the majority. We believe the group had been sitting round one of the tables and lit some of the candles.

?They started playing with the fire then ran away when they heard sirens. This is when the fire spread, causing more than ?20,000 in damage.

?Some of the young people stayed behind to help the owners and the police.

?We now have a list of 10 people who we will be contacting in the next few days.?

It took firefighters three hours to put out the blaze.

Crew manager Gary Charnock, from Bolton North fire station, said: ?When we arrived on the scene the fire was already quite substantial.

?We managed to contain the fire to the external area adjacent to the main garden centre.?

Police are also set to step up patrols in the area over the next week.

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