A LARGE fire was started in the car park at the rear of Tesco Esso Express in Radcliffe.

The incident in Water Street on Saturday night is suspected arson and a police investigation is under way.

Firefighters described seeing flames as high as 20 foot, almost reaching the roof of the store.

Watch manager Tony Wellock said: "We were called at 12.45pm. We were there quite quickly. We could see the flames on our approach.

"There were a lot of people around.

"A pallet of cardboard was on fire and it had spread to a bin compound containing a lot of plastic pallets and wood.

"It was just about catching the roof. The flames were higher than the shop, around 20 foot.

"There was damage to the building and to the electrics. Some of the wiring was burnt.

"The compound was virtually destroyed.

"It would have spread to the building had we not got there when we did."

Fire crews from three stations were initially called to the store at 12.45pm on Saturday, with two of those appliances later standing down.

They tackled the fire in a bin compound measuring around five square metres.

They used high pressure hose reels and breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze.

Shift leader at Tesco Express, Michelle Gilmore, said: "The cage caught fire outside. 

"It spread into the back yard but there is no great damage to the building.

"No one was hurt and business has not been impacted upon."

Ms Gilmore and another colleague attended after receiving an alarm call from security control who had been contacted by the police.