OXLEY police are hunting a group of young arsonists after five suspicious fires in two nights in a small area of West Tamworth.
Witnesses saw four young males running from the scene of two incidents overnight on Wednesday, including an attempt to set a vacant home on Hardy St alight.
Police said the first incident occurred in front of a home on Green St, where a wheelie bin was set on fire just after 11pm.
Neighbours reported seeing the young men flee the scene.
Just 20 minutes later two fires were started in a Matheson St residence, with a garden shed and backyard rubbish set alight.
An hour later, the group was seen again, first attempting to start a fire in a bedroom of a vacant home on Hardy St, and then setting shadecloth outside the home alight.
Oxley LAC Acting Sergeant Paul Kay said police were taking the incidents very seriously.
Witnesses had described the group as being as between the ages of 14 and 15.
“These kids are putting property and lives at risk,” Sergeant Kay said.
West Tamworth Brigade Deputy Captain Wayne Koppel agreed, saying fires could easily spread to neighbouring homes.
“These kids may think they’re just setting a vacant home alight but fires can spread,” Deputy Captain Koppel said.
“Depending on how close the houses are and how much rubbish is in the yard, it could take as little as three to five minutes for a fire to take hold of a neighbouring house.”
He said the incidents were enormously frustrating to firefighters.
“It’s a public nuisance.”