ARSONISTS have targeted a Blackburn car garage, setting fire to several vehicles with the blaze later spreading to business premises.

Detectives say they suspect the serious fire, at Worldwide Tyres, Stansfeld Street, Blackburn, was started deliberately.

A member of the public reported the blaze at 4.15am today and police were called to assist 20 minutes later.

Two fire crews from Blackburn and one from Darwen attended.

On arrival they found six cars alight in a yard at the front of garage which had spread to a commercial building.

Detectives investigating the incident suspect that accelerants may have been used to ignite the cars.

Crews wearing breathing apparatus used three jets, a positive pressure ventilation fan and triple extension ladder to bring the fire under control.

Crews were were in attendance for one hour and forty-five minutes.

The garage is within industrial units at the end of the street close to the Stansfeld Centre.

According to their website Worldwide Tyres conduct vehicle repairs, servicing, MOTs and provide brakes, clutches, exhausts, tyres and alloys.

On Saturday morning, several burned out cars could be seen at the front of the premises.

When approached, a staff member purporting to be from the garage declined to speak about the incident.

One neighbour, 42, who did not wish to be named, said: "We heard the fire service arrive in the middles of the night.

"You could see the flames at the from of the building and from the amount of fire engines it was obviously quite serious."

A spokesman for Blackburn CID, said: ""We were called by the fire service at 4.40am to an extensive fire at commercial premises.

"An arson investigation has been launched and early signs indicate the fires were set deliberately.

"We are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in or around Stansfeld Street in the early hours of Saturday." 

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting incident 274 of July 2.