The devastated mother of a mixed-race teenager believes racist thugs torched a house they were about to move into.

Susan Carroll says the arson attack has shattered the confidence of her 14-year-old daughter Chantelle - an award-winning dancer who appeared as an extra on TV comedy My Parents Are Aliens - and left them too afraid to move to Bolton Woods.

Police are investigating the incident in which it is thought a burning object was pushed through the letter box of a rented house in Bolton Hall Road during the early hours.

Firefighters said the blaze was confined to the area round the door after a neighbour raised the alarm. But Miss Carroll, who was planning to move to Shipley from Thorpe Edge, said many of their personal belongings were smoke-damaged.

Last year the Telegraph & Argus revealed how two families of asylum seekers had asked to be rehoused after a spate of attacks on their homes, which the police treated as racially motivated. Seven youngsters, aged ten to 17, were later sent letters warning they would be served with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders unless their behaviour, which included hurling racial abuse at asylum seekers and vandalism, improved.

Miss Carroll, 41, who is now staying with relatives, said: "I think it's a race attack, I really do. We'd been coming and going with things for the previous few days so must have been seen. Someone down there said that whoever did it probably thought we were asylum seekers.

"I've brought Chantelle up to treat everyone with respect, no matter what their background, and just think it's outrageous that this sort of thing can happen to anyone.''

Miss Carroll, a support worker with the Newlands Childcare project and a volunteer with Gingerbread, the support and advice charity for lone parents, said the incident has left her daughter totally traumatised''.

"She's normally so confident but at the moment can't stop crying and isn't getting any sleep because of what happened," she said.

"We weren't going to move in until that evening, but we could have been in there asleep and could easily have been killed.

"There's no chance of us moving to that area now. We're frightened to death."

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said it was thought Friday's blaze was started deliberately, adding: "We're asking for witnesses or anyone with information to call us on (01535) 617083. If the complainants believe it was racially motivated we'd urged them to get in touch with us.''

Councillor Tony Miller (Lab, Shipley East) said: "I'm not surprised they don't want to come to the area now. This sort of behaviour has to be condemned, irrespective of the motive, because fire does kill.

"There's a lot of genuine concern among people round there about it and the person responsible needs to be caught.'

"A lot of work's been done with the young people since the problems last year and the situation has improved tenfold.

"She's entitled to her views. But until whoever's responsible is caught it's hard to comment on why it happened, and it's up to the police to find out whether or not it was racially motivated.''