TWENTY animals have been killed and a scout headquarters destroyed after arsonists went on the rampage.
Police have arrested one man and a teenager after devastating attacks on Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, the Fylde Scout headquarters, a mini bus and a garage in less than four hours in St Annes.
Bosses at the rescue centre and members the scouting community have been left heartbroken following the fires.
It was the second time in 12 months arsonists had attacked the scouts headquarters.
Police and fire chiefs today condemned the acts as “deplorable” and “despicable” as a massive clean-up operation began.
John Taylor, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “These fires have taken life and they endangered the lives of firefighters and members of the public nearby.
“We deplore the actions of people who deliberately start fires.
They have no regard for life or property. From time to time across the county there can be arsonists who go on the rampage. It’s a rare event. It’s despicable.”
Mandy Leigh, owner of Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, said the blaze had killed four adult cats, four kittens, 10 chickens and a rabbit which were in an isolation unit in a outbuilding near the main centre. Staff found the tragic scene after arriving at work at 8.30am yesterday and called the police and fire brigade.
It is thought the fire had been burning for a number of hours beforehand.
Mrs Leigh said: “I feel sick. I have gone from crying all the time to being angry thinking of all those little lives which have perished. My poor staff down there who walked into the carnage. I can’t bear it.
“I’m going to have to close while we get things sorted.”
Firefighters and forensic teams remained at the scene yesterday while the arson probe continued.
FOR MORE ON THIS STORY SEE THURSDAY’S GAZETTE.