A mother is living in fear of the yobs who keep setting fire to cars outside her house.

Sandra Chipping, of Northumberland Avenue, Wanstead, says three vehicles have been set ablaze since January, and their melted remains have been left to fester outside her house.

Redbridge Council has moved two of the three cars burnt since January, but the third is still “blighting” the street.

The 52-year-old says the latest incident, on June 6, nearly burnt her house down.

She was woken up by a loud “bang” at midnight and ran to the window, where she saw a car alight.

Quickly dialling 999, she hauled her son, Gary, 24, who has ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome, outside.

“It was frightening,” she said. “The car exploded three times and the fire spread to the trees nearby. My whole house shook, it was so loud.

“The flames were getting so close my house. I couldn’t go back for my cats.

“I thought my house was going to set fire.”

She sought refuge in the car park of the nearby care home, Perry Lodge, as firefighters battled the flames.

She added: “The next morning there was a strong petrol smell and debris all over the place.

“It looks terrible. It’s so unsightly. There’s ash everywhere and it’s devastating to look at it and to think they can do it close to someone’s home.”

Her house, a social housing property which she moved into with her family at the age of six, is on a dead end and overlooks the field.

Although she has done everything she can to try and keep potential flames at bay, including trimming her hedges, she fears another attack is imminent.

She added: “I’m not sleeping at the moment. I’m waiting for 4am for it to be daylight so it’s safe enough to go to sleep, then sleeping in the afternoon.

“I’m afraid to leave my house at night-time, too.

“It’s making me ill. It’s risking our lives - will my children and I get seriously hurt? Is that what is going to happen?

In the meantime, she is desperate for more security measures, including CCTV footage and for the gate which links her home to Perry Lodge to be moved further up the field.

The mother-of-two, a chef, is being supported by good samaritans Eileen Elton and Nina Parrish, who regularly pick litter in the park.

Mrs Elton said: “It’s horrible, there’s debris all over the ground. It seems to be the new pastime for young people but I don’t know why they are congregating there.

“We definitely need a gate here.”

A council spokesperson said:  “Tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping our streets clean and safe is a priority. 

"This includes removing reported abandoned vehicles within 24 hours to help prevent attracting anti-social behaviour and setting up a hotline for residents to report incidents which can be followed up with enforcement action.

"We want less crime and will continue to work closely with the police to do everything possible to combat this kind of anti-social behaviour.”  

The council advises that any residents experiencing anti- social behaviour should call our Hotline on 0208 478 4679 or the 101 non- emergency police number.