A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to a house while an elderly couple slept inside.

The couple, who are in their 80s, were taken to hospital after neighbours helped to rescue them following the blaze at their house in Eldon Street, Tonge Moor in the early hours of Monday morning.

They had been awoken sometime before 3.55am by the sound of their fire alarm and got out of bed to find the living room was full of smoke.

The couple got out of bed and managed to alert neighbours by banging on the wall of the property.

The neighbours helped the pensioners out of the house and they were taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital where they were treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.

They are both now described as safe and well and are being cared for by family members.

Greater Manchester Police have arrested a 27-year-old man on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

The arrested man has been bailed pending further investigation.

The force are still seeking the public’s assistance, a spokesman said: “Anybody who may have seen anything suspicious or heard any disturbances in and around the area near to Eldon Street is encouraged to contact us.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 0161 856 5761 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.