A WARRANT was issued for the arrest of a 10-year-old girl when she failed to appear before Hyndburn Youth Court on Tuesday.
The girl, who is from the Accrington area, had been accused of starting a blaze that caused thousands of pounds-worth of damage to the town's Glyn Webb store last month.
She was charged with arson with intent to endanger lives and with a separate offence of arson at Barnes Furniture, Church Street, Accrington, the day after the incident at Glyn Webb. A third charge of criminal damage was also due to be taken into consideration.
But after she failed to attend her first court appearance on Tuesday, a warrant without bail was issued for her arrest - despite the fact that she is only just over the age of criminal responsibility.
Shoppers and staff had to be evacuated from the Glyn Webb store when fire tore through the building on the evening of Thursday 12 February, smashing through windows and ripping out part of the roof.
All were evacuated safely, although a number required treatment for smoke inhalation and shock, and one suffered an asthma attack.
Firefighters battled for several hours to contain the blaze and adjoining Oxford Street was closed off for days as workmen removed melted shop signs.
The fire cost the store an estimated half-a-million pounds in damaged stock and lost trade, and it has yet to re-open. It happened just nine years after an electrical fire gutted the Blackburn Road building and caused more than £1M-worth of damage.