ARSONISTS struck four times in 50 minutes in an area of Bradford early yesterday.

A shipping container outside Canterbury Youth Club on Arum Street, Little Horton, was set alight at about 5.55am.

It is believed it was being used to store second-hand furniture and books, according to a fire service spokesman who added that everything inside the container was destroyed.

Firefighters also tackled two wheeled bin fires and doused a conifer tree that was set alight nearby.

All four fires are believed to have been started by three youths who were "running around in hooded tops", said the spokesman.

Councillor Sher Khan (Lab, Little Horton) said: "We do have a problem there with youths. Whoever did it, it is a disgrace. I cannot understand the mentality at all.

"We work with schools and try to get more funding for youth - we have done so much and still they are doing it."

He added: "These silly people are spoiling it for other people who work within the community and want to make the place nice for others.

"It is a very small minority that spoil it for others."

Councillor Alyas Karmani (Bradford Independent Group, Little Horton) said: "This is not unique to Canterbury - it is a district-wide issue.

"We have lost significant aspects of our youth service, and outreach workers are just not there. We have low educational attainment and high youth unemployment, so you can understand why anti-social behaviour takes place.

"There are good youth workers in Canterbury - we just need more, but we haven't got those resources because of cuts."

He added: "This is something I am passionate about. There is a correlation between investment in young people and less anti-social behaviour.

"We do need a lot more investment in young people."

Khalid Hussain, of Canterbury Youth Centre, said the container belonged to a voluntary organisation that no longer existed. He said it had been locked up for some time.

"It is in our grounds," said Mr Hussain. "But we don't have keys for it and we don't know what was in it."

He added: "This will not affect our services, we just have to clear it up."

Fire crews from Odsal and Fairweather Green stations tackled the fires. One firefighter said: "We had to cut the container open to get to the fire. Everything inside is gutted, either water or fire damaged."

A Bradford Council spokesman said although it did not own the damaged container it would arrange for its removal.