AN arson attack outside the front door of a Sale flat led to a family becoming trapped inside.

It is thought the offender or offenders deliberately set fire to cardboard boxes and rubbish outside of the ground floor flat on Chepstow Avenue, Ashton-on-Mersey, at around 5.40pm on January 27.

As the blaze was against the door of the address, the family was unable to escape unaided.

Police and firefighters attended and rescued a 75-year-old woman, 28-year-old man and two children aged eight and three, as well as extinguishing the fire.

Three crews from Sale, Stretford and Eccles fire stations attended the incident and two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus put out the fire using a hose reel.

It is not thought the family were specifically targeted, none of whom were injured, but have been left very shaken by the incident.

Det Insp Debbie Oakes, of Trafford CID, said: "Someone has deliberately set fire to a stack of cardboard outside the flat, trapping four occupants, including a pensioner and two children, inside.

"Thankfully no one was seriously injured but such reckless actions could have resulted in devastating consequences and I dread to think what may have happened had it not been for the swift response of emergency services.

"We have no reason to believe the family was deliberately targeted and it is quite possible the offender or offenders has seen the cardboard and without a second thought just set it alight.

"If you did this or were with the person who did, come forward and tell us what happened. "I also want to hear from anyone who knows who is responsible or who saw someone in the communal area or near to the flats at about the time of the fire."

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 0161 8567671, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.