Cars torched in arson attack at Sunderland repair centre

Steve Milner with the destroyed cars.
Steve Milner with the destroyed cars.
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Thousands of pounds' damage has been caused in an arson attack at a Sunderland auto repair centre.

Two cars were destroyed and four others damaged in the blaze at North East Auto Repair in Castletown.

North East Auto Repair boss Steve Milner

North East Auto Repair boss Steve Milner

A firecrew from Washington was called to the premises at the rear of Ethel Terrace shortly after 5am today and two firefighters using breathing apparatus tackled the fire.

Business owner Steve Milner was left counting the cost this morning.

"These are all sale cars - you are looking at three, three-and-a-half grand in total," he said.

"It could have been worse - at least no customers' vehicles have been damaged. Luckily it is only mine.

"It looks as through they have tried to steal at least one of the cars - they have smashed in the ignition then tired to set fire to the driver's seat.

It was not the first time in recent days that businesses in the block had been targeted.

"A few weeks ago, there was a roller shutter that was stolen. It wasn't ours, it was somebody else's " said Steve.

"We are only trying to make things better around here. We raise money for Grace House, we do everything we can do for the community and then we have a bunch oi little villains doing this to us.

"Maybe it is time to ask the community for a little bit of support in return, to help us find out who has done this to us.

"Somebody must have an idea about who is responsible and I would ask them to contact the police and tell then what they know."

A Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service spokesman confirmed the blaze was being treated as suspicious and had been referred to Northumbria police.

A police spokeswoman confirmed the force was investigating.

"We received a call at ten past five this morning, reporting cars on fire at North East Auto Repair," she said.

"Enquiries are ongoing."