Youths were seen running from a Perth primary school, moments before firefighters tackled a major blaze that threatened to engulf the building.
Locals claim to have seen four hooded teenagers climb a fence to leave Oakbank school grounds just minutes before firefighters arrived to tackle the blaze.
Crews raced to the school, which was officially opened just three years ago, just after 9pm on Friday.
It happened just days after Perth and Kinross Council issued a warning about plastic litter bins being set on fire in the Oakbank and Viewlands area.
Firefighters spent around 45 minutes tacking the blaze, which caused smoke damage to an outer wall, and were able to prevent it spreading to the school.
The fire sent thick plumes of smoke into the sky, which could be seen from the city’s Glasgow Road.
One local resident, who did not want to be named, said she called the fire service after initially being alerted to the fire by her son.
She said: “He could see black smoke and called me. I went upstairs and saw there was a fire at the school.
“I saw four teenage boys running towards the street and they climbed a fence into the car park. They were all wearing hoodies with the hoods up – it was a nice night so there was no reason for them to have their hoods up.
“I phoned the fire service and about four minutes later I could hear the sirens coming up the road.”
She said: “It’s shocking because it’s a new school and it’s had a lot of money spent on it. If it had been the old school it probably would have gone up but with it being a new school it’s been built to better standards.”
It is thought that a wheelie bin was pulled alongside the building and set alight.
Another man, who has previously fallen victim to firebugs, added: “We heard the alarm and saw the smoke.
“It doesn’t really surprise me. They are doing these things in daylight – my hedge was set on fire a while back and it was 11am.”
Police are investigating the incident but were unable to confirm whether any arrests had been made.
Oakbank Primary was officially opened in February 2016 following a £9.4 million building project.
The school has 14 classrooms, all of which have break-out spaces for pupils, along with nursery accommodation, a multi-use games area, and additional support needs facilities.