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Detectives are investigating after a suspected arson attack in Bolton.
At around 12.20am on Friday 27 December 2019 police were called to reports of a fire in Farnworth, Bolton.
Fire services attended and extinguished the blaze at a dentistry on Plodder Lane.
Plodder Lane remains closed and residents and business owners have been advised not to return to their properties due to extensive damage to the building.
A police cordon will remain in place while forensics investigate the incident.
Police have established that the fire was deliberately started by two men who entered the dentistry via the rear entrance of the building. The two men were in the premises for around 10 minutes. There was then a large explosion in the building before the men ran out through the rear entrance.
One of the men was described as wearing a long sleeved padded jacket with an emblem on the left breast and a hood over his head.
The other man was seen wearing a waist length coat that had an emblem on the left upper arm. The coat had a fur-lined hood, which was pulled up over his head. He also appeared to be wearing a separate face covering.
Detective Sergeant Samantha Parry of the Bolton District said: “This was a premeditated arson attack that caused severe damage to the premises and buildings surrounding it.
“I would like to reassure the community that we are doing all we can to protect residents and find those responsible for the arson attack.
“We are appealing to anyone who was near the Pristine Dental Laboratory on Plodder Lane at the time of the explosion on Friday 27 December 2019 and saw two men acting suspiciously in the area matching our description to contact police as soon as possible.
“Any details you may have could be crucial in our search for more information.”
Anyone with any information should call 0161 856 5757 quoting incident number 74 of 27/12/2019. Details can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.