AN investigation is underway after an arson attack on a barn close to a controversial ex-offenders’ hostel in Edenfield.

Firefighters were alerted to a blaze at a disused barn near to Chatterton Hey, Exchange Street, at around 4pm on Wednesday, according to Lancashire Police.

Two men were seen around the property, around 45 minutes earlier, who detectives are keen to trace.

Det Con Phillip Pilkington said: “We think that this fire was started deliberately after the building was accessed.

“Thankfully no-one was hurt but we are particularly keen to speak to two men who were seen near to the building around the time of the fire, which we think was started around 3.15pm.

“I would appeal to those who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area around the time of the fire, or similarly anyone with any information that may assist us with our investigation to contact us.”

Villagers fought a lengthy campaign in late 2011 against proposals by the Langley House Trust to introduce convicted ex-offenders to the property.

An initial proposal to allow convicted paedophiles to the property was dropped after a public outcry and a lack of support from Lancashire Probation Trust.

Witnesses are asked to call police on 101.