Gang of youths believed to have set fire to rough sleeper in Northampton last night

A group of youths are being sought by police after they were believed to have set fire to a homeless man's sleeping bag in Northampton last night.

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 3:57 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:14 pm
The incident happened at the bus shelter alongside Abington Park.

The rough sleeper, who is 49 and known to have early onset dementia, was bedded down for the night at the Wellingborough Road bus shelter next to Abington Park.

At around 9.15 pm last night (August 21) family member Bianca Todd happened to be driving past the shelter when she noticed a number of people stood near him.

Bianca, his niece-in-law, got out the car and went to investigate.

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She then saw flames rising from the bottom of her uncle-in-law's sleeping bag and a gang of youths stood nearby.

Bianca says a fellow rough sleeper stood near to the incident told her that the gang were responsible for starting the fire, though this has not been confirmed by police.

"I went to go and put it out but he was fast asleep, he didn't realise he was on fire," she said.

"If his friend hadn't have spotted him, he would be dead."

Bianca said she tried to confront the gang of young people - which she said consisted of five boys and a girl aged between around 14 and 16.

"They just said to me 'you can't see me'," said Bianca, who then asked them to leave.

A police spokeswoman confirmed officers were looking into the incident.

She said: "We were called at around 9.30pm yesterday to Wellingborough Road, Northampton to reports of a sleeping bag being set alight. We’re investigating and if anyone has any info they should call us on 101."

Bianca, who runs the Community Courtyard charity in Northampton, says her uncle is recovering well at a friend's house and, thankfully, did not receive any burns due to the number of layers he was wearing.