DETECTIVES investigating a deliberate blaze which destroyed a former social club believe it may have been started by youths.

Officers appealed today for information about a group who may have been involved in starting the flames that destroyed the old Unity Club in Port Glasgow in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The blaze broke out at 1.20am in the derelict Southfield Avenue building, which is also known locally as the Knights of St Columba.

The incident is being described by the police as wilful fireraising and Greenock CID are leading the investigation.

DC Stuart Young said officers wanted to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious activity near the building during Monday evening.

He said: “Youths have been breaking into the building in the past, as well as setting wheelie bins on fire at the back of it and setting fire to nearby moorland.”

The blaze was tackled by 25 firefighters using four pumps and one high reach appliance.

Firefighters dressed in breathing apparatus extinguished the fire using high-powered hoses.

The club’s roof caved in and Southfield Avenue was closed because a gable wall was in danger of collapse, with diversions put in place.

What little was left of the building has now been demolished.

It was up for sale at offers over £50,000 as ‘a re-development opportunity’ with a potential for building houses.

It is being marketed by Colliers International of Edinburgh, who have refused to comment.