CCTV appeal after tent set on fire with homeless Donna, 35, inside

Police have launched a CCTV appeal after a tent was set alight with a homeless woman inside.

Officers have released an image of a teenager they want to speak to following the arson attack in Longton on one of the coldest nights of last year.

Rough sleeper Donna Roberts was sheltering from the wintry weather outside the former Carphone Warehouse, on The Strand, when she was alerted to the blaze.

A previous CCTV appeal led a 16-year-old boy being arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life following the blaze, which happened at around 8.15pm on December 29.

He was bailed with conditions while inquiries continue.

Now police are stepping up their efforts to identify any other suspects.

Donna Robert’s tent outside the former Carphone Warehouse, on The Strand, in Longton

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “Officers are releasing an image of a second male they wish to speak to in relation to an incident where a tent was set on fire in Longton.

“While a woman was in the tent at the time of the incident, she fortunately suffered no injuries.

“An investigation was subsequently launched by CID and a 16-year-old was later arrested.

“This new image shows another male police wish to speak to in relation to the incident, also believed to be a teenager.

“We have also worked closely with partner agencies to support the woman and offered her alternative accommodation, along with ongoing help and support.”

Donna – a former alcoholic and heroin addict – previously spoke to StokeonTrentLive about life on the streets after a ‘nightmare’ four-week stay in The Crown Hotel, in Longton.

The 35-year-old revealed a brick was thrown at her tent on Boxing Day and then the tent was set on fire three days later.

Homeless Donna Roberts' tent after it was set on fire on The Strand in Longton
Homeless Donna Roberts’ tent after it was set on fire on The Strand in Longton

Donna, who is originally from Blurton, said: “I was inside my tent when somebody set fire to it. A man from the shops saw it through the window and shouted me.

“He had managed to put it out by the time I had got out. Luckily there wasn’t too much damage done. I’m really grateful to him. I have no idea why somebody did it.”

Anyone with information should message Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter quoting incident number 637 of December 29, call 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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