Bin fires in two different blocks of flats in Amersham are believed to have been started deliberately, police say.

Residents were evacuated from their homes after police and the fire brigade were called to the fires in Park Place at 4.10am on Saturday.

The fires started in communal bin areas on the ground floor of two separate blocks.

In one, a mattress was set alight, and in the other, the contents of a wheelie bin were set on fire.

Thames Valley Police say the fires were started “almost simultaneously” and because of their close proximity, believe they were started by the same person or group of people.

Investigating officer, PC Richard Stephens, based at Amersham police station, said: “These fires could easily have caused people to be seriously injured, as they were started in communal bin areas directly below and adjacent to occupied flats where residents would have been asleep at the time.

“Had the fires continued to grow and spread, residents on the upper floors could have become trapped.”

Thames Valley Police officers attended the scene, and put scene watches in place in order to carry out an investigation and to protect residents from harm.

PC Stephens added that residents on the upper floors of the blocks may have seen or heard something before the arson attack and urged anyone with information to come forward and call 101 quoting reference 43170102171.

To give information anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.