Traders and residents say a spate of arson attacks outside town centre businesses could have been much worse had they not been spotted quickly.
Six fires were started in Stamford town centre in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Fire crews rushed to put out the burning piles of recycling that had been left out for collection.
The fires were started at about 1am outside Timpson in High Street, Blockbuster and Hambleton Bakery in Ironmonger Street, the Fine Food Store and You and Beyond in St Mary’s Street and AJ’s Card Craft in North Street.
Jenny Fitzpatrick owns The Fine Food Store. She said: “Myself and my team were shocked and saddened by the arson attack on our business this week.
“These attacks should be treated exactly as that, arson. It should not be passed off as ‘kids messing around’.
“Yes we were inconvenienced by it, but what really frightens me is the fact that we, like some of the other businesses targeted, have residents living in the flat above.
“If one of these fires had caught we could be looking at a catastrophe. I’m pretty sure the arsonists did not think about the consequences of their mindless actions.
“However, I hope that somebody comes forward with some information for the police to prevent this from happening again.”
Ben Stephenson, who owns You and Beyond, added:“It could have been much worse. Thankfully some builders saw the flames and came over to put them out.
“Whoever has done this has just gone round Stamford setting fires.
“They must have some audacity. They are not going to get anything from it. It is mindless.
“They have not purposely gone for anyone. They were just walking around being idiots.”
Chrystal Taylor, 23, lives in Ironmonger Street. She heard two bangs just after 1am on Wednesday morning and looked out of her window to see fires at either end of the street.
She said: “I was shocked and scared. I live on my own and there is only one way out of my flat.
“I wondered what was going on and how many fires there were.
“It’s not the sort of thing you expect in Stamford, especially not in town on a Tuesday night. It’s normally really quiet.
“I hope they find whoever did it.”
Police have released CCTV images of two men they want to question who were seen in St Mary’s Street at the time of the fires.
Community beat sergeant Rachel Blackwell said: “Recycling bags which had been left out for collection were set alight, and the fires began to catch woodwork on the shop frontages.
“A number of good Samaritans tried to tackle the fires before the fire brigade arrived – and tried to move the fires away from the buildings with big sticks.
“The outcome could have been much worse had the building fires took hold, as those affected were amongst the older, historical buildings in town.”
If you saw anything call police on 101 quoting incident 10 of April 17.
- Police have arrested two people in connection with the incident. No-one has yet been charged and inquiries are ongoing.