RESIDENTS have been left dismayed as police launch an investigation into a suspected arson attack.

Brampton’s public toilets on Beck Lane, which only a few months ago received a colourful artistic transformation at the hands of primary school children, was the scene of drama on Sunday evening, as firefighters were called to the scene to tackle a blaze.

A spokeswoman for Cumbria Police confirmed that the fire is being treated as suspicious.

“Police were called to a report of a fire in the ladies public toilets on Beck Lane, Brampton, at about 7pm,” the spokeswoman said.

“This incident is being treated as suspicious and is under investigation.

“The fire was put out quickly by the fire service, although some damage was caused to a cubicle.”

The spokeswoman also confirmed that no arrests have yet been made in connection with the fire.

While the damage has not been catastrophic, Brampton parish council chairman David Moorat said the event has nonetheless marred an otherwise peaceful summer for the town.

“Fortunately, I’m not aware of any significant anti-social behaviour recently in Brampton,” Mr Moorat said.

“It’s quietened down over the last few weeks. It’s sad that whoever did this feels they can do this.

“The people who pay their taxes have got to pay for repairs in the end.”

Mr Moorat also raised the question of how anyone was able to gain entry to the toilets in the first place.

“They toilets are supposed to be locked automatically. The gates are the responsibility of Carlisle City Council.”

A Carlisle City Council spokeswoman said: “The locking mechanism was functioning as normal on Sunday so we are unsure how the vandalism occurred.

“Following the fire, there has been further vandalism and new locks have been installed.

“We urge anyone with any information about the vandalism to contact the police.”

The toilets had also been vandalised in July. Cubicles and hand basins in the men’s toilets were damaged.

Abby Kilfedder, formerly a teacher at William Howard School in the town, coordinated the Brampton Primary School art project to paint the exterior of the toilets.

She said: “It’s such a shame this has happened.

“The children from Brampton primary school worked so hard to create drawings for the mural, many turned up to help paint it with their parents.

“It was a great community effort to brighten up the area. I’ve had so many lovely comments about how their work has made people smile when they see it.

“I’m sure the community will rally around to help repair it, if needed.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101.