A BLAZE which ripped the roof of a disused church rectory in Oldham was started deliberately is now being treated as arson, police have confirmed.

Up to 40 firefights battled for more than hour to bring the fire in the building next to St Mark with Christ Church in Glodwick Road under control on Thursday night (September 26).

Crews from Hollins, Oldham and Chadderton were among firefighters from six stations across Greater Manchester called to the scene at 9.10pm.

No-one was injured in the fire and the building was said to be unoccupied.

Police now say the cause of the fire was arson.

The incident closed Glodwick Road, the B6194, until it was later reopened on Friday.

A Greater Manchester Fire Service spokesperson said: "GMFRS would like to thank local people for their co-operation and support throughout the night."

There was no damage to the main part of the church but the community centre next door sustained damage.

Police are treating the incident as arson and are appealing for information.

Detective Sergeant Jason Byrne of GMP’s Oldham District, said: “Thankfully, noone was injured in the fire.

“I would like to reassure those affected that we will do all that we can to bring those responsible into custody.

“We would encourage anyone who may have been a witness or anyone who may know any details to come forward.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 1382, quoting incident number 3151 of 26/9/2019, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.