TWO women who launched an arson attack on the home of an asylum seeker were being hunted by police today.

The arsonists struck at a house in Briercliffe Road, Deane, at 3am on Saturday as the two male occupants slept.

They smashed a downstairs window and set curtains alight in the living room.

Omar El-Hasan, from Kuwait, and Cirus Liv, from Iran, were woken by a smoke alarm and dialled 999, but managed to put out the fire before crews arrived.

Det Con Dave Harris, from Bolton CID, said: "Although the damage to the house was very minor, this could have been a much more serious incident.

"Thankfully they had a smoke alarm fitted and this meant they were alerted to the fire before it became more serious.

"We are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen what happened or who knows the women."

Mr El-Hasan and Mr Liv, who have lived in the house for just three weeks, were woken by loud banging at their door. They went downstairs to be confronted by two women who were hurling racist abuse at them.

The men threatened to call police and the women left. But five minutes later the smoke alarm sounded and they discovered the fire.

Mr El-Hasan, aged 27, said: "The women were very abusive, they were swearing and calling us refugees. I couldn't understand why, I don't think I've seen them before.

"We have not done anything wrong so I don't know why it has happened."

Police are treating the incident as racially-motivated and are appealing for help tracing the women, who are described as white and aged around 20-years-old. Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 5797 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.