Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 17:25 UK

Child started clothes shop blaze

A fire at a clothes shop which led to a shopping centre being evacuated was started by a child using a cigarette lighter, it has emerged.

Two workers at Internacionale in the Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, were treated for smoke inhalation due to the fire on Friday.

Another store was damaged by the smoke but the complex reopened on Saturday.

After studying CCTV footage, police said it was started accidentally when a four-year-old set fire to clothing.

'Far worse outcome'

After consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), no criminal proceedings will be brought, Staffordshire Police said.

"The owners of the store are aware of these developments and they have been informed that officers have interviewed the parents of the child involved," the spokesman added.

The fire - which has gutted the store - was being treated as suspicious by police.

Heat from the blaze was so intense it melted the windows. All the stock was destroyed.

At the time of the incident, people in the shop reported seeing two youths outside playing with lighters, the fire service said on Friday.

Paul Lancaster, general manager of the shopping centre, said: "I understand that no further action will be taken by the police.

"However, parents must take responsibility for the action of their young children.

"Friday's incident was very serious and could have resulted in a far worse outcome."



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