THREE children riding scooters are being sought by police after a factory on Groundwell Industrial Estate had to be evacuated during a fire on Thursday night.

At about 8.30pm some waste paper disposal units caught fire, spreading to the outside of a nearby factory.

Electrical equipment and two tonnes of waste were burned in the process and staff were advised to leave the building for an hour while the flames were extinguished.

The group of children on scooters, seen in the area shortly before the fire, are being asked to come forward to help police with their inquiries.

PC Mark Simpson, beat manager for North Swindon, said: “We are looking to speak to three children who have been described as being in the area and then disappeared.

“The fire was noticed shortly afterwards. There has been a lot of damage to scrap paper and the overhanging canopy on the outside of the building.

“The factory is located at Groundwell Industrial Estate on Stephenson Road, where they store all the waste paper.

“This was not just a little bin fire, it was a large amount in a few wheelie bins.

“The damage was mainly contained to the outside of the building, but all the electrics had to be switched off and the workers were evacuated from the building as a precaution.

“They were evacuated from the building for around an hour while the fire service worked to put out the fire.

“One would think the children are local considering they were all on scooters, and we would like to speak to them to assist with our inquiries.”

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “Wiltshire Fire and Rescue sent two appliances to a fire at a factory in Groundwell Industrial Estate at 8.30pm on Thursday evening.

“A stack of waste paper had been set alight which spread to the building, and the people working inside had to be evacuated from the premises.

“North Swindon Police would like to speak to three children seen in the area at the time. They were all white and aged between 10 and 12 years.

“The first had mousey hair and was wearing a blue t-shirt and red football shorts.

“The second had blonde hair and was wearing a white t-shirt, jeans and blue and yellow trainers. The third was wearing a red or pink t-shirt and blue jogging bottoms with two white stripes down the leg. All three children were on scooters.”

A spokesman for Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said: “Around two tonnes of paper and wooden pallets were burnt in the blaze. Minor damage was also caused to machinery and an adjacent building.”

Anybody with any information about the incident should email North Swindon NPT at, or call 101 quoting crime reference 71813.