FIREFIGHTERS have warned an arsonist must be caught before a café is burned to the ground.

After a spate of arson attacks in Preston Park, Brighton, the latest on Saturday night saw a burning wheelie bin pushed up against The Chalet Café.

Only an act of bravery by a passer-by stopped serious damage when they pushed the wheelie bin away from the building.

And Preston Circus Community Fire Station’s watch manager Dave Statham has urged for the person responsible to be caught.

He said: “It’s been going on for a while now with small bin fires, but this is different.

“It’s an ongoing thing and they’re going to have to catch whoever is doing it soon or the whole place is going to be burned to the ground.”

Sussex Police confirmed officers were hunting those responsible after the force told The Argus they were treating the fire as deliberate.

Andy Rollings, owner of the Preston Park Chalet Café, said: “I’ve been at the café for 30 years and we’ve never had anything like that before.

“Obviously there is cause for concern with some buildings left open – it could cause a major problem and that’s not something I’d like to see happen.

“Maybe the public buildings need to be closed earlier, especially in the winter.

“It’s ok in the daytime because there are plenty of people about but when it gets dark and there are less people about it’s more likely that something could happen.

“We’ve got to make sure all buildings are locked and secured too.”

Brighton and Hove City Council is responsible for maintaining the toilets attached to the café.

A spokeswoman said: “We were informed about a small fire being started at the toilets next to the Preston Park Chalet café over the weekend.

“We operate these toilet facilities and checks have been made to assess the damage which was minimal.

“We will be in contact with the café owner to discuss any issues and suitable actions for the future.”