Mystery arsonist targets new inking parlour

Wayne Porter, who runs Acherontia in Hall Street, Burnley.
Wayne Porter, who runs Acherontia in Hall Street, Burnley.

Police are hunting an arsonist who deliberately sabotaged the opening of a new Burnley tattoo studio.

Owner Wayne Porter (33) was supposed to be celebrating Acherontia’s grand opening on Tuesday but instead spent the day clearing out his personal possessions from the smoke-logged building.

Detectives believe petrol was poured over the Hall Street entrance and set alight in a deliberate attempt to prevent the studio from opening.

“It’s annoying because we were all booked up until November but now this is going to put us back two to three weeks,” said the former Towneley High School pupil, who decided to set up the business after leaving Tattitude, where he had worked for four years. “It took about five weeks to complete the refurb of the building and everything was in place. There isn’t a lot of fire damage but the soot and smoke has got everywhere. Fortunately we are covered by insurance.”

Firefighters were called to the address at 7am where they found the fire, which they believe had been set earlier in the night, still smouldering at the studio’s entrance.

Det. Sgt Alisa Wilson slammed the attack as targeted and deliberate and moved to reassure nearby shop owners that it was an isolated incident.

“I would like to reassure nearby businesses and shop workers that I believe this is an isolated targeted attack, deliberately planned to stop the tattoo studio opening today.

“Detectives from East CID have launched an investigation into the arson and I am appealing for anyone who witnessed the offence or who may have information about the arson to come forward.

“I am also keen for anyone who works at a petrol station in the Burnley area and who has sold petrol in a jerry can to a customer significantly prior to the offence to contact the police.”

Anyone with any information should contact Burnley police on 101 quoting log 135/071014 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.