RESIDENTS were woken when arsonists torched a 33,000 volt electricity pole.

The fire in Chirk was started deliberately by thieves who were after the metal on the pole and was one of two arson attacks in the Wrexham area early yesterday.

North Wales Police and the North Wales Fire Service are now appealing for information and for people to be on their guard as arsonists also targeted a car in Piercy Avenue, Marchwiel.

The fire in Castle Road, Chirk, was started at about 6am.

Luke Williams, 26, who lives opposite the scene, took a photograph of the firefighters in action.

He said: “I heard a big bang outside and went to see what was happening. I saw there was a fire on the electricity pole so I called the fire brigade.”

His father Gary added: “Doing something like this is absolutely crazy. The firefighters were here quickly and did a good job tackling the flames, which were big. There is a danger the fire could have spread.”

Andy Robb, of North Wales Fire Service, said the blaze was started by thieves who were attempting to steal valuable metal.

He warned: “This type of criminal behaviour puts not only the lives of those carrying out the activity at risk but also the lives of firefighters attempting to extinguish the fire as well as any members of the public who may attempt to tackle such a fire.

“I would ask people to stay well away from electrical fires of this nature and to contact the fire and rescue service.“

A spokesman for ScottishPower said electricity supplies were not affected.

She added: “These criminals show a staggering disregard for their own safety, the safety of the public, and that of our employees.

“It is important all our equipment is in service so we can maintain a good quality of electricity supply to all of our customers who depend on our service.

“Dangerous acts like this not only have the potential to cause serious injury but could also result in widespread loss of electricity supply to homes and businesses.

“It quite simply beggars belief that anyone would put their life on the line by interfering with thousands of volts of electricity to steal small amounts of cable with a minimal scrap value.”

Firefighters were called to Piercy Avenue in Marchwiel at 5.30am where a car had been deliberately set on fire.

Mr Robb said: “This incident comes after a spate of car fires in the Wrexham area recently. Those responsible have no regard for public safety and there is real concern su ch a fire could easily spread and endanger lives.

“We are advising residents to keep an eye on their own vehicles as well as watching out for any suspicious behaviour around other vehicles in the area.

“We are working closely with local policing teams to combat deliberate fire-starting. Arson is a serious crime and in conjunction with North Wales Police we will pursue prosecutions.”

Cllr Ian Roberts, the Mayor of Wrexham, said: “This is shocking and could put people’s safety in danger. If anyone has information which could help the police they should tell officers as soon as possible.”

North Wales Police can be contacted by telephoning 101.