RESIDENTS are being urged to lock away their wheelie bins after two more were set ablaze at a renowned blackspot last night.

Firefighters were called to Queen Street in Horwich at 10pm to reports a bin had been set alight.

And just one hour later crews attended nearby Winter Hey Lane after another bin was set on fire.

Crew manager Jason Martin said there had been nine wheelie bin fires in the area at the top of Queen Street and Richmond Street, over the last year – and three in the last two he weeks/

And he warned that as well as being a drain on resources they could lead to more serious fires.

He said: “Wheelie bins knock out lots of flames because they’re pure plastic, and if it’s up against someone’s fence or gate it spreads quite easily.”

He continued: “We believe the fires have been set by the same individual as there is a pattern. The bins are set alight in the same location, the time is usually between 9pm and 11pm during the week.

“Not only are wheelie bin fires expensive, they can cause damage to property and can cause serious harm to individuals. Furthermore, wheelie bins are plastic and burning them releases dangerous toxins into the environment.”

Mr Martin stressed that he did not want to blame residents – who may go to work very early or work nights – but offered advice to reduce opportunities for the suspected arsonist.

He added: Tips to keep bins away from arsonists include storing your bin in your garage or shed if possible.

"if you don’t have the facilities to lock your bin within a shed or garage, then try to store them away from the house and out of view.

"Do not store wheelie bins in the staircase of a block of flats and do not over fill your wheelie bin, as an overflowing bin can be more tempting for people to set fire to it."

Anyone with concerns over fire safety who would like a free smoke alarm fitted and fire safety advice should call 0800 555 815.