Suspected arsonist accidentally sets fire to himself in South Shields

26 June 2019, 16:09 | Updated: 26 June 2019, 16:14

Police

A suspected arsonist accidentally set himself alight while torching a home in South Tyneside.

Shortly after 3am on Tuesday), police received a report that a house was on fire on Belloc Avenue, South Shields.

Emergency services rushed to the scene where they found one person who needed treatment for burns to their feet, but nobody was seriously injured.

The case is being treated as suspected arson - after detectives uncovered CCTV footage, showing a man acting suspiciously at the front door of the address in question shortly before the fire.

The man can then be seen running away from the scene engulfed in flames.

Police are keen to find him - and say likely to have suffered severe burns as a result of the incident.

Detective Constable Gavin James, of Northumbria Police, said: “This was a very serious incident that could have resulted in severe injury or even a fatality.

“We are committed to finding those responsible for the fire, which we believe was started maliciously.

“Our enquiries have led us to a man who was acting suspiciously at the front door of the address in question, just before the fire was ignited.

“We are now keen to speak to him in connection with the incident, and would ask anyone who is aware of somebody who has come to suffer serious burns over the last few days to come forward and pass that information to police.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 quoting reference 78 240619 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.