A QUAINT market town today resembles a 'war zone' after a gang of arsonists torched 13 cars in a late night rampage.
The thugs put Wimborne in Dorset under siege by going from street to street on a motorbike to start the fires.
They poured an accelerant on one random car after another before setting them ablaze.
Horrified residents in one residential street were awoken at 1.20am to find four separate vehicles ablaze.
Video shows the night sky 'glowing orange' from the amount of car fires in New Borough Road and several neighbouring streets. Loud bangs can also be heard as the vehicles went up.
By daylight the burnt out shells of multiple cars could be seen with the air still thick with acrid smoke.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service received 65 999 calls between 11.30pm and 2.30am from shocked residents.
The first blaze was reported in Wentworh Drive in nearby Broadstone, at 11.35pm, before three cars were torched on Oakley Hill, Merley, on the outskirts of Wimborne, at 1.08am.
At 1.20am, fire crews were called to New Borough Road in Wimborne to reports of four cars alight.
The assailants then moved to Poole Road where they torched two more vehicles at 1.24am and at 1.35am set fire to another car on the road, which spread to a home.
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The rampage ended with two cars being set ablaze on Merley Ways, Poole, at 2.26am.
A mother and two young daughters fled their home in their pyjamas amid fears the blaze might spread from their Ford Ka to the building.
Neighbour Poppy Baker, 57, a credit controller, said: "I live in Leigh Road and at about 1.30am I saw this orange glow from my window.
"A Ford Ka was burning and there was so much heat the paint on my front door was melting.
"The car belongs to a mother and she ran out the house in her pyjamas with her two young daughters.
"The fire engulfed the car very quickly and three fire appliances were at the scene to stop it spreading to the building.
"Then all these social media reports started coming through of other car fires in Wimborne.
"I'm told a man had been seen running away from a fire and someone said they saw a man jumping on the back of a motorbike.
"Everyone is in shock. Another neighbour said he moved from London to Wimborne for a quiet life and today it's like a warzone."
Maggie Stirrup, 70, on Grove Road: "I was woken up with my husband at around 2am. We looked out the window and saw our neighbours car on fire. It was right next to our door and my husband is in a wheelchair. I didn't know how we would get out if it spread."
Darren Trickett, 60, whose Land Rover Discovery was destroyed on Grove Road: "I woke up when I heard a bang, I didn't know what was happening. I looked out the window and saw my car in flames. I was worried that the engine might explode.
"I ran out of the house to try to get the fire extinguisher from the boot but the central locking wouldn't work. I just stood and watched. I just can't believe it happened here."
Chloe Torring, whose Nissan car was burnt out on Poole Road said: "I woke up at around 1.30am to knocking. My neighbour woke me up and I saw my car burning and I just couldn't believe it.
"This sort of thing never happens here. Why would someone do something like this?’
Victor Silver's partner's car burnt outside his house on New Borough Rd.
He said: "We know who did it. We could only watch. It's just devastating."
Kayleigh Humphires also lives on New Borough Road. The 33-year-old said: "I thought there had been a car accident because I heard a massive bang. But when I came outside I saw two cars engulfed in flames and then looked further up the road and saw another two on fire.
"The night sky was just glowing orange all around. It's like a war zone out there today, there are so many burnt out cars."
Detective Sergeant Simon Austin, of Dorset Police, is appealing for people with any CCTV that may have video the assailants to come forward.
He said: "These incidents have affected a large number of victims in the wider Wimborne area and we are aware that this will cause concern.
"I would like to reassure our local communities that officers are currently investigating all reported incidents and are making every effort to identify those responsible. People will see visible police activity as officers are making house-to-house and CCTV enquiries.
"We are appealing for any witnesses to any of the incidents or anyone who might have seen suspicious activity in the roads mentioned to please come forward.
"Also, I would urge anyone who may have home CCTV installed in those areas and anyone with dashcam to please check their footage to see if there is anything of relevance that could help us.
"Additional neighbourhood officers will be in the area who can be approached for advice and support."
A Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Rescue spokesperson said: "Between the hours of 11.30pm yesterday evening and just before 2.30am this morning, our Service Control Centre received approximately 65 999 calls about vehicle fires in the Wimborne and Poole areas.
"A crew from Poole attended a fire involving a single vehicle on Wentworth Drive, Poole at 11.35pm.
"A crew from Poole and two from Wimborne attended a fire involving two vehicles on Oakley Hill, Poole, at 1.08am. A second call was received at 1.15am about another vehicle alight in the same area.
"At 1.20am, a crew from Redhill park were called to New Borough Road, Wimborne Minster following reports of four vehicles involved in fire.
"A crew from Poole attended a fire on Poole Road, Wimborne Minster involving two vehicles at 1.24am.
"At 1.35am, we received a call about a vehicle fire on Poole Road, Wimborne Minster which had spread to a property. Crews from Ferndown, Westbourne, Wimborne and Poole attended.
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"A crew from Wimborne attended a fire involving two vehicles on Merley Ways, Poole at 2.26am.
"We are supporting our police colleagues with their investigation."
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