Family’s car torched on Christmas Day after thugs threaten to ‘burn them alive’

A family were left fearing for their lives after their car was set ablaze on Christmas Day.

The Akhtar family were asleep at their home in Sparkhill, Birmingham, when their car was torched by two thugs.

Instead of waking up to open presents, Jamil Akhtar, his wife and three children awoke to find their family car completely destroyed.

CCTV footage captured the moment the pair doused the car with petrol before tossing a match on it causing it to go up in flames around 12.30am.

The clip shows smoke billowing from the windows as the offenders fled the scene.

Pictures show the destroyed interior of the vehicle, which was completely gutted by the attack.

Father-of-three Mr Akhtar told BirminghamLive he feared for his sons, aged one and 14, and his ten-year-old daughter after the attack.

He said: "We’re very high risk at the moment, I’m not fearing for myself, I’m fearing for my wife and my children.

"Police have come out so many times, but say they can’t do anything until someone gets hurt with the cutbacks."

The attack allegedly happened after they were involved in a row with the neighbours over parking.

Mr Akhtar, 44, said the family had been told: "We’re going to burn you alive" and "we’re going to make your life a misery".

He added that a fireproof letterbox had been installed as a safety measure.

Colebrook Road, Sparkhill was previously dubbed the city’s "most lawless street" and Mr Akhtar claims death threats, arson and huge rats scuttling around are commonplace.

He said: "We feel so terrified. If we leave the house, we don’t know what’s going to be happening outside our door – or will somebody be inside the house?"

CCTV clips from 2017 show a litany of incidents including hooded bikers throwing rocks at a neighbour’s home before riding off.

Another video shows revellers launching fireworks from a wheelie bin on New Year’s Eve which then shot off around the street.

He said: “We’re stuck here with all this stuff that goes on on the road.

"Once we saw people from our window – they slaughtered a sheep on our street and were having a BBQ with it in the back garden.

“People put nails up into my tyres, I was spending hundreds every year fixing my car.

"We’re scared to leave the house, if you come down in the night, and see what goes on you will be horrified."

West Midlands Police said in a statement: "Police are investigating an arson attack on a car in Colebrook Road, Sparkhill, in the early hours of Christmas Day (25 December).

"At around 12.30am, a Peugeot pulled into the cul-de-sac, where it stopped alongside a parked car.

"Two men got out of the Peugeot and one of them poured a fluid over the roof of the parked car, while the other man smashed the passenger window and set the car alight.

"The two men then ran back to their car and drove off."

Anyone with information should contact police via Live Chat at between 8am to midnight, call 101 or contact Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.

Quote crime number 20BE/300304R/18.

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