A car wash in South Tyneside has been destroyed in a suspected arson attack and covered with racist graffiti.
Firefighters were called to the business in Wenlock Road in Simonside, South Shields, at 1am today.
The wooden hut used by employees was ablaze and a number of racist slogans had been sprayed around the site.
However, officers from South Shields Fire Station were unable to save the hut and it was destroyed by the flames.
A spokesman from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: "We received a call at 1am today.
"A wooden cabin was on fire and two hose reels were used to extinguish the blaze. However, it was destroyed by the fire.
"We are now investigating the cause of the blaze."
Police are treating the fire as deliberate.
A spokesman said: “Enquiries are on-going to establish the circumstances around the fire, however, initial enquiries suggest it was started deliberately and it is being treated as arson.
“No-one was injured in the fire. Extra officers are carrying out patrols in the area to offer reassurance to residents who may be concerned.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 36 241115 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.