POLICE are appealing for witnesses following the launch of an arson investigation in Shirley.

More than 70 firefighters from across Hampshire rushed to Victor Street in Shirley as flames threatened to engulf a neighbouring building used by the Salvation Army.

A total of 14 fire engines arrived at Factor of Fun on the evening of February 10 and huge clouds of smoke were seen across Shirley.

Police were called by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, who responded to the fire at Factory of Fun children’s play centre.

The play centre has not been open for business for some time.

The fire has caused considerable damage to the main play area building, including the roof and external supporting walls.

A spokesperson from Hampshire Police said: "We are investigating the exact cause of the fire and officers are keen to speak with anyone who may have seen anything suspicious outside the building between 4pm and 6pm on Monday.

"Anyone with information can call 101, quoting 44200052374. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."