Forensic investigators have been called in after arsonists set fire to a Leeds shop just days after the building was targeted with racist graffiti.
The fire was started at the Smart Choice household appliances store in Dewsbury Road, Beeston, last night (Monday).
It came just two days after police were called over a hate crime when racist graffiti, seen by the YEP, was scrawled on a wall of the same premises.
Patrols have been increased in the area following the offences.
Police believe arsonists broke into the shop's storeroom to start the fire, which damaged that room and a corridor before it was extinguished.
Officers checked the flat above the store, which was empty.
Detective Inspector Richard Holmes, of Leeds District CID, said: “We are treating the incident as arson and the scene is due to undergo forensic examination today.
“We are carrying out extensive enquiries and would like to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area in the time leading up to the fire.
“As yet, there is no clear motive as to why the premises have been targeted and we are continuing to speak to the complainant.
“We are aware of a previous incident at the same premises where racist graffiti was written on a wall. This was reported on Saturday but could have occurred any time between then and Thursday, August 31.
“That incident is being treated as a hate crime and we would also like to hear from anyone who has any information that could assist that investigation.
“Officers from the local neighbourhood policing team are aware of the incident and will be increasing their patrols of the area to reassure the community.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Leeds District CID via 101 quoting crime number 13170405016, or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.