Kids caught on camera setting fires in St Annes park

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A gang of youths were caught on camera starting fires on the decking of a St Annes cafe.

The four boys could be seen setting fire to wads of toilet paper from the public toilets at the Pavilion Cafe, in Ashton gardens, St Annes, at around 5.20pm on Monday.

A still image from the CCTV footage

A still image from the CCTV footage

Cafe owner Philip Green said: "We had finished at the Pavilion and locked up and we had a phone call from one of the staff telling us to look at the CCTV. Some members of the public called the fire brigade and we did as well.

"On our building we have the cafe and on the end are some public toilets. They get locked down in the evening but if these youths catch them before the lock-down they jam them. It's happened before over time. It could be a curse this winter.

"There's a lot of wood in the building. If it goes up, it goes up quickly. It's quite disturbing. I don't think these kids realise the impact it could have if that building was to catch on fire.

"We were really impressed with the police and fire brigade. They responded very quickly.

"(The youths) actually came back later on. About 12 of them reappeared about an hour later after the police had gone. Thankfully one of the police remained in the park and when they came back they were approached.

"The kids congregating in the park has become more of a problem in recent months. We have been advised by the police to log any incidents because if the incidents are logged they can assign resources.

"It's congregations of kids drinking alcohol and smoking weed. It generally isn't a problem until there's a mass of them; it becomes intimidating for passers-by, and it's intimidating for us as business owners. Most of them are very respectful but there's a small minority who do spoil it by being aggressive. I imagine the parents of some of these kids would be absolutely mortified if they knew."

A police spokesman said: "We were called at 5pm to a report that there were some youths setting fire to something near the toilets in the park. Fire services attended. We have attended but no arrests have been made."

Anyone who knows anything about the incident is asked to contact police on 101 with the reference number 0947 of November 19.