‘Mindless idots’ set fire to furniture outside Grantham charity shop

British Heart Foundation warehouse manager Steve Bebbington and volunteer Christopher Wakefield survey the damage cause by the fire at the back of the Grantham store.
British Heart Foundation warehouse manager Steve Bebbington and volunteer Christopher Wakefield survey the damage cause by the fire at the back of the Grantham store.

Arsonists have destroyed £2,000 worth of stock after setting fire to sofas dumped at the back of a charity shop.

Staff say they are lucky the whole of the British Heart Foundation shop did not go up in flames after the fire spread from outside into a stock room at the back, destroying furniture which had been sold and was due to be picked up.

Grantham firefighters were called to the back of the furnture shop, in Swinegate, just before 3am on Tuesday. They used breathing apparatus and cutting gear to deal with the blaze. It spread quickly into the back storeroom, where a three-piece suite, bed and wardrobes were either caught up in the flames or were damaged by water.

Manager Kay Taylor said: “They’re mindless idiots. That’s £2,000 of stock which has been bought and I have got to replace or refund.

“It’s a good job somebody saw the fire and reported it because otherwise the whole building would have gone up.”

A bed destroyed in the fire was due to be picked up by a customer from Godmanchester, 50 miles away, who bought it on eBay.

Staff believe the sofa was dumped at the back of the store during the night and somebody came along later and set fire to it. This is the second time items have been set alight at the back of the store this year.

Staff complain that the rear area is used by people for flytipping, with all kinds of items dumped there, including washing machines, wardrobes, freezers and mattresses. Most items are not reusable and others are often damaged by rain.

Kay said the store cannot take dumped items to the recycling centre in Grantham because they would have to pay for what is classed as trade waste. The British Heart Foundation shop has been left with between 40 and 50 mattresses which are of no use to the charity, but recently Princes Skips in Grantham offered to take away a number of mattresses for free.

Kay, who has worked at the shop since it opened 10 years ago, said: “They are just piling up junk outside the back door. It is blatantly obvious it is not saleable.”

To arrange donations to the store call 01476 594545.

Police are investigating and want to hear from anybody with information. They should call the police on 101, quoting incident number 41 of June 30.