A MENTAL health nurse who had just completed a 14-hour shift was left having to put out a late-night wheelie bin blaze which set fire to her garden fence.

Joanne Stallard, of Mellor Grove, Smithills, worked from 7.30am to 9.30pm on Sunday and was just about to go to bed at 11.05pm when she smelt smoke through her kitchen window.

The 45-year-old opened her patio windows and discovered flames higher than her 6ft garden fence were dangerously close to the house.

She shouted for her fiance Mark, 51, daughter and her boyfriend, who are all living together during the lockdown, to look outside.

The Bolton News:

The blaze takes hold of the garden fence

They quickly sprung into action and started putting out the fire with bowls of water.

The fire service, who Joanne says were already in the area dealing with other incidents, arrived five minutes later to finish putting out the fire.

The aftermath of the blaze revealed two wheelie bins full of rubbish were involved.

Damage was also caused to Mark’s work van.

The Bolton News:

The fire on Sunday

Joanne said: “Some people just have no morals and no conscience.

“It wastes firefighters’ time and endangers people’s lives.

“This is supposed to be a quarantine time – what are they doing out at 11pm?

“Are they doing it for fun?

“They would have had to walk up the ginnel and past my grandchildren’s Wendy House, swing and slide to start the fire.

“Luckily they were not in the house at the time.

“It could have spread to the conifer tree and shed if we didn’t see it earlier.

“I am an NHS nurse working like other key workers.

“I had to get up to go work the next morning like Mark, who is a branch manager for a car parts company, which is delivering to the NHS, ambulance service and police.

“But I was petrified and I could not get to sleep.”

The Bolton News:

The aftermath of the wheelie bin fire

Joanne, whose dad was a fireman, also wants to let people know that residents need to be wary of leaving their bins out to avoid a similar incident.

She added: “I want to spread awareness that this is happening.

“These people must be so warped.”

Greater Manchester Police confirmed they were treating the blaze as arson.

It was reported that someone was spotted running away from the scene of the fire.

Just over an hour earlier at 10pm fire crews were also called to a vehicle fire on nearby Empress Street

If you have any information about either of these incidents, contact police on 101.

Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.