A DARWEN company preparing to open to the public tomorrow suffered a setback after being hit by an arson attack.

Discount furniture seller East Lancashire Waste, in Lower Eccleshill Road, had left wooden table tops in a secure yard on Tuesday night when it was targeted by a suspected firebug.

Two crews from Darwen fire station were called to the business at around 4am, where they found a large pile of wood on fire.

Bosses at the small family business, which sells second-hand goods, refurbished furniture, lamps, and wallpaper, said the damage will total £1,000 in lost stock and clean-up costs.

One worker, who asked not to be named, said: “We put the wood outside for one night and someone came in and set fire to it.

“I only found out when I got to work and found the padlocks had been cut off.”

The worker said the compound had been broken into three times, although nothing had been taken from the business previously.

He added: “We have no idea how they got in. They must have climbed over. We think it was kids because I was here until 10pm and there was nothing going on.”

Tony Keane, a watch manager at Darwen Fire Station, said it took around an hour to put out the blaze. He said there was heat damage to the back of the building from radiated heat. Paint had been burnt off the building, and the guttering had melted.

The sprawling site previously housed East Lancashire Warehousing, which employed 60 workers until it went into administration in 2011.

The company closed its doors after it ceased trading, selling off assets to claw back money for creditors.