POLICE believe a major fire at an industrial estate in Moreton may have been caused by arsonists.

Fire crews were called to Tarran Way at 9pm on Tuesday after more than 40 calls from the public.

Two HGV articulated wagons were well alight, and a dense smoke cloud blew across Pasture Road, which was closed to traffic as a precaution.

Fire investigators have attended and believe the blaze “may have been started deliberately.”

Detective Inspector Rachel Wilson, Wirral CID, said: "The fire badly damaged a number of vehicles at the site and caused some disruption for local residents whilst surrounding roads were closed and a small number of homes were evacuated as a precaution.

"Our investigation is at an early stage and I would appeal to people who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area around the time of the fire, or has any information, to get in touch with us."

Investigators are forensically examining the site and studying CCTV pictures taken in the area.

Eyewitnesses described hearing a "large bang" before thick black smoke began billowing from the site.

One resident who lives nearby said "it was like World War Three".

"If it had taken hold of the petrol station, we wouldn't be here now," he said.

Group manager Paul Murphy, district fire manager for Wirral, said: “The fire involved vehicles including two HGVs, which caused a lot of smoke to drift from the area.

"Swift action by firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to nearby business premises.

“Fire protection staff from our service will be visiting commercial premises to highlight our safety messages.”

Damping down operations were completed by 2.30am on Wednesday, and crews left the scene shortly after 3am.

Appliances from Upton, Heswall and West Kirby attended the incident.

Anyone with information should call detectives 0151 777 2265 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.