Police are investigating after two masked men set fire to a car in a supermarket car park. The men reportedly threw a fire accelerant over the silver vehicle before setting it alight outside Asda in Leek.
The incident happened at 1pm on Monday (June 13) while the Springfield Road shop – which is directly across from Leek High School – was busy with customers. The two men, wearing so-called Halloween masks, were seen running towards Buxton Road.
A horrified mother told how she came out of the store and saw the car on fire just meters from where her 10-year-old daughter was waiting in her own vehicle.
READ: Examination of Longton fire seen for miles
The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “My daughter was sent home sick from school so she waited in the car while I rushed to Asda to get some Calpol for her. But I was only a few minutes. When I came out, a car parked nearby was engulfed in flames, black smoke was coming out.
“I ran to my car and backed up as far as I could. It was so scary. At first I thought something went wrong with the car and it caught fire, but then my daughter told me that she saw what happened.
“She said she saw two men with rubber face masks and hoods on coming around the back of our car. They had a liquid that they poured all over the car and set it on fire. She said they saw her sitting in our car but they went ahead anyway. I must have gotten out of Asda shortly after it happened.”
The flames spread to an overhanging hedge and were dangerously close to neighboring homes at Springfield Court. Witnesses said firefighters from nearby Leek Fire Station were at Asda at the time they bought their lunch, so the blaze was quickly brought under control could be brought.
The mother, whose daughter gave a statement to police, said: “It’s scary to think about what could have happened. I always thought it would explode. There were a lot of people around and other cars in the parking lot. It was madness.”
An announcement was made over the store’s public address system, urging customers to remain indoors while the fire was being fought to ensure their safety.
The car is believed to have belonged to an Asda employee. It was later removed from the parking lot while the burned area where it stood remains cordoned off.
Staffordshire Police have asked other witnesses to get in touch. Officers have also asked for dashcam footage that could help with the investigation. A spokesman said: “We responded together with the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to a vehicle on fire at Asda on Springfield Rd at 1pm on June 13. We’re asking for witnesses and dashcam footage. Anyone with information please contact PC French at Joanne .firstname.lastname@example.org”.
NEWSLETTER: Sign up for email alerts from StokeonTrentLive straight to your inbox