COMMUNITY leaders have condemned arsonists who went on the rampage through a Southampton community, starting half a dozen fires.

In the most frightening incident they set a newspaper alight and tried to push it through an elderly woman’s letterbox.

Police have launched a hunt for the firebugs who targeted vehicles and homes in the Lordshill and Lordswood areas of Southampton, leaving a trail of destruction.

Daily Echo:

From Lordshill Road to Robina Green, they set ablaze a fence, an estate agent’s “for sale” board, a rubbish bin, a car and a canopy attached to an Auto Windscreens van.

Last night neighbours of the elderly woman whose home was targeted said they have been left shaken after the string of attacks.

Residents of Salerno Road in Lordshill said the street was filled with police on Saturday as detectives searched for clues that would lead them to the culprits. Police are now urging witnesses to come forward.

Detective Constable Jonny Hyland said: “We are particularly keen to speak to a person who is believed to have assisted two house occupants by knocking on their doors and telling them that their property was burning.

“We believe this person is a crucial eyewitness, and we are very keen to speak to them.

“Equally, if you were in the area at the time and saw anything suspicious, please contact me.”

Cllr Don Thomas, who represents Coxford ward on Southampton City Council, described the rampage as “very worrying and disturbing”.

He said: “I call on anybody who’s got any information whatsoever not to mess about but call the police as soon as possible. This could well have put people’s lives in danger.

“This is a lovely place to live and these sorts of events are very unusual.”

Mike Holder, chairman of Lordshill Community Centre, said: “It’s a very peaceful, pretty area and somewhere to be proud of, so we can do without this sort of behaviour. There are so many elderly people in the area who will be worried.

“I just hope they get caught. It’s disgraceful behaviour for youngsters and it’s something they will pay for for the rest of their lives with a criminal record around their neck.”

Daily Echo:

Ken Minchington, who helps run Coxford Community Centre, said: “I think it’s disgusting that anyone can even think about going round setting fire to things, especially putting things through people’s houses.

“When we moved here it was a very quiet area and it still is so it’s not something you expect.

“I think it’s terrible that things like that should happen. It’s quite frightening, actually.”

Nobody was injured in the attacks, which took place overnight on Friday into Saturday.

Anyone with any information should call Shirley CID on 101 or the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.