ARSONISTS filled a wheelie bin with clothes and pushed it against the back door of a house before setting alight and risking the life of the man inside.

Stephen Withington, aged 48, was asleep in his home in Olaf Street, Tonge Moor, when the blaze started just before 1am on Saturday.

His clean laundry had been taken from the kitchen, stuffed in the bin and set alight.

Fortunately a friend who was in the house at the time saw the flames and alerted the fire service.

Mr Withington said: “I am sure the yard gate was locked, so they must have climbed over to get here.

“It was a stupid thing to do, it could have been a lot worse. I was asleep and if my friend had not been here the fire could have spread to the house, and I would not have known about it at all.”

He added: “I have no clothes now, they have all been burned, but they can be replaced. I don’t know why anyone would do this. It is putting lives in danger.”

Police are investigating and Mr Withington has spoken to officers.

“If anyone has any information on who did this then please contact the police,” he said.

Fire crews were called to the property at 12.45am.

Watch Commander Nigel Booth said: “We would ask people if they can secure their bins and keep away from property.”

In June 2008, a wheelie bin was set alight next to a house in Little Holme Walk in Great Lever, setting it alight and claiming the lives of 71-year-old Hameeda Begum and her granddaughter, Alana Mian, aged four.

Alana’s mother, Saima, and firefighter Steve Morris, were also seriously hurt. Bolton has been plagued by arson attacks. Kearsley and Farnworth have been named as hotspots.