ARSONISTS struck twice within the space of two hours on a hectic night for firefighters in Atherton.

Fire crews based in Atherton and Leigh were called to the former Atherton Sports and Social Club in Formby Avenue at 7pm on Bank Holiday Monday.

A fire had broken out in a sofa and it took the crews 15 minutes to make the scene safe.

One of the rooms suffered smoke damage.

Then, at 8.55pm, crews were called to a fire at a ground-floor flat in Cross Street, Atherton.

The blaze broke out in a television cabinet.

A Fire Service spokesman said: “With the social club fire, there were signs of forced entry and we believe that people have got in and set the sofa alight and it let off a lot of smoke.

“The flat was boarded up. A passing motorist saw a group of teenagers running away from the property with some flammable liquid.

“Luckily, we were able to isolate the television cabinet very quickly.”

Police are investigating both incidents. Call them on 101 with information.