MINDLESS thugs are risking lives by setting fire to cars.

In just five months in Glasgow more than 140 cars have been torched.

Fire crews must attend every incident -meaning they could be diverted from a serious house fire or car crash.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager George McGrandles, who covers the city centre, said: "Deliberately setting fires risks lives.

"Those who are involved must know their reckless and irresponsible actions could have tragic consequences for themselves, innocent members of the public or emergency responders.

"The simple fact is that when a car is set on fire at least one appliance and crew will be unable to respond to another emergency.

"Anyone who is involved in setting fire to cars could be responsible for delaying firefighters getting to a house fire or a road traffic collision where a family is trapped.

"These criminals need to ask themselves how they would feel if people are killed or suffer horrific injuries because a fire they started delayed firefighters getting to an emergency."

Calton, in the East End of the city, has seen the highest number of deliberate car fires.

The ward had 25 incidents, or 18% of the city's total.

Of the 141 vehicle fires in the past five months, 15 were in Govan, making the area the second worst for offences.

Next were the north east of the city, with 11 ,and Drumchapel/Anniesland, with 10.

Mr McGrandles added: "We are working extremely closely with Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council and our message to the people of Glasgow is simple: Fire setting is an offence - don't accept it, report it.

"By reporting cars that may have been abandoned residents can help us ensure they are removed before they are set on fire.

"We need people to join our fight against fire and help ensure Glasgow communities' vital fire and rescue resources are able to get to wherever they are needed."

In November the Evening Times reported that two cars were set on fire in the grounds of the 102-year-old Holy Cross Church, Govanhill.

Ten firefighters worked to bring the blaze under control.

catriona.stewart@ eveningtimes.co.uk