Panicked yob tries to burn soft play centre – but sets himself on fire by mistake

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A man who tried to set fire to a children’s play centre got a taste of his own medicine after he went up in flames.

Police and the fire service were called to the blaze at the Saltire Soft Play and Soccer Centre in Dalkeith, Midlothian, at around 11.30pm on Saturday.

But it wasn’t until the venue looked at its CCTV footage that they realised the arsonist also ended up in flames, the MailOnline reports.

The video, which the centre shared on social media, showed the thug with his hood up putting something through the letterbox.

Moments later the fire caught and smoke started pouring from the building – but the arsonist then also caught fire.

He was captured waving his arms around in a panic, before running to avoid a plume of fire which shot out of the building.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews extinguished the fire, which police are treating as ‘wilful’. 

Detective Constable Russell Taylor said: ‘We are keen to trace a man dressed in black who was seen in the area. 

The hooded figure smuggled items to the centre underneath his clothes (Picture: Facebook/Saltire Soccer Centre & Saltire Soft Play)

He then pushed the items through the letterbox and set the fire (Picture: Facebook/Saltire Soccer Centre & Saltire Soft Play)

…But his clothes then caught fire (Picture: Facebook/Saltire Soccer Centre & Saltire Soft Play)

He had to run to avoid a plume of fire coming out of the building (Picture: Facebook/Saltire Soccer Centre & Saltire Soft Play)

I would appeal to anyone who may have dashcam footage which could help to please contact us.’ 

The fire has devastated the soft play centre, which was already struggling financially following the coronavirus lockdowns.

Owner Craig Meikle said: ‘This has obviously been devastating for my family, our staff and customers and has left us unable to open for business. 

‘Our thanks go out to all our well-wishers and the emergency services, whose prompt response has meant, hopefully, our closure will only be for a short time.’

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