A quiet neighbourhood is in shock after a succession of cars were destroyed in a spate of arson attacks.

The vehicles were all parked outside their owners’ homes when they were set alight early yesterday.

In the space of one hour, four cars were burned out in the Cliffe Lane area of Gomersal.

Angry residents spent much of yesterday sifting through the charred remains of their cars, contacting insurers and arranging recovery vehicles.

Police are investigating the attacks, which began at about 3.40am. The first blaze caused serious damage to a Renault Laguna which was parked in Woodlands Crescent.

The car’s owners, Kate Hutchinson, 26, and Steven Rigby, 32, were woken by the blaze, as were their children, George Rigby, four, and Anna Rigby, six.

Miss Hutchinson said: “I woke up to the sound of the tyres exploding. We looked out of the window and both ran out of the house and it just went up then. We have got some nice old neighbours and they are really upset. I am in shock at the moment and we have got two young children, so it was terrifying for them.”

The second fire, at about 4.30am, started in a Vauxhall Omega but spread to a Vauxhall Corsa parked next to it in Bawson Court, off Cliffe Lane.

People who live in the quiet cul-de-sac came out in force to commiserate with the owner of the vehicles, Steve Tiffany.

Mr Tiffany, 51, said: “The guy who lives round the corner also had his car done last night. I was awoken by the sound of minor explosions and whizzed out to discover that my vehicle was totally engulfed in flames. The fire brigade were called and within a matter of minutes they were here putting the flames out. Both vehicles are total losses – they are write-offs. I work in the insurance trade so I can tell that.

“One is mine and the other is used by my son to get to University at Leeds Met, so really it’s his daily transport.”

Mr Tiffany said he had looked long and hard to find a decent car at a reasonable price for his 19-year-old son Andrew Tiffany. He said: “Replacing the vehicles creates a real difficulty. It’s the time that it takes to sort it out. Somebody has had two minutes of fun setting fire to these vehicles but does not realise what happens afterwards.”

The third fire, at about 4.40am, destroyed a Mercedes-Benz that was parked in a secluded courtyard at Roundhill Mews, lower down Cliffe Lane.

Residents expressed their surprise at the incidents and pointed out that the area had one of the lowest car insurance premiums in the district.

Graham Norton, who lives in Cliffe Lane, said: “At 4.30am, I heard a loud bang and went to the window and there was a car on fire on someone’s drive opposite where we live. My wife rang the fire brigade. As the fire brigade were putting one of the fires out, they got called to another one nearby.”

Firefighters from Cleckheaton fought two of the fires and the other was tackled by a crew from Batley.

Detectives based at Dewsbury CID are investigating the attacks.