A horrified father was forced to flee his home with his young family after a "malicious" arson attack in the early hours.

‎Mac Karlekar‎, 43, said his loved ones suffered a "near death experience" when they woke up to a fire roaring outside their front door.

Concerned neighbours called the fire brigade when they spotted the flames at a home by Borkwood Park on Sunday morning (16 September) after midnight.

Mac told News Shopper: “I heard some noise under my bedroom window but ignored it. I thought it was a Saturday night and some folks must be having drinks and partying.

"But 20 minutes later I heard bells ringing and people were hammering my door to wake us up. I looked at the porch and saw our hedges on fire."

He said the next few minutes were the scariest he had ever experienced as the hedge fire spread perilously close to his son’s window.

"Oh my god," Mac started. "Those three or four minutes of getting my family out we were in complete shock. I didn’t even know what to do."

CCTV in the area later showed four youths setting fire to the hedge.

Mac, who has lived in the home for one year, and has been a UK resident for 20 years, said he has never endured such an attack.

"I go out of my way to help people,” he said. “I have no idea why they would target us. It is impossible for me to believe in this nice area."

Two cars and parts of the house were damaged by the fire and the worried dad fears it could take his daughter, nine, a long time to recover.

He said: "We have not been able to sleep since. My daughter has been waking up and saying ‘daddy the house is on fire again’.

"She was on a sleepover on the night but she saw the aftermath and the video afterwards.

"My son (14) is putting on a brave face but that’s what teenagers do."

He said those responsible didn’t care about his family and described it as a “malicious and intent attack”.

"We are worried they might to the same to other houses. There are elderly people around here and they might not be as lucky to escape. I hope someone catches them."

A police spokesman said they had reviewed CCTV and one suspect, who looks around 18, was with three other people when he is seen setting fire to the hedge.

No arrests have been made and enquiries continue.

Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers anonymously 0800555111.