POLICE are hunting for three boys after a school in Erskine was damaged in an arson attack.

Residents were left horrified after seeing thick plumes of black smoke and flames billowing from Bargarran Primary overnight.

Two fire engines were sent to the scene at Barrhill Road to battle the blaze, which took place at around 9.45pm on Sunday.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “A garden bench was set on fire to the rear of the school, which spread to the rear of the old building, causing fire damage.

“At 9pm that night, three boys were seen walking in the general direction of the school and the CID at Johnstone are keen to identify these three boys.

“If you have any information regarding the fire and the identification of the boys, please phone Johnstone CID on 101 or call anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Parents have expressed outrage on social media over the arson attack.

Carol Alexander wrote: “My youngest is due to start in August and it’s her classroom that was damaged.

“Who knows what’s going to happen? It makes me so angry that she and her wee friends are probably going to be disrupted on their first day.”

SNP councillor Michelle Campbell, who represents Erskine and Inchinnan, added: “I am hopeful that the CID will be able to track down who is responsible and I encourage the community to engage with the police.”

It is unknown whether or not youngsters will be able to return to classes as planned next month.

A Renfrewshire Council spokeswoman said: “The police are currently investigating the incident.

“We appreciate that parents and pupils will be concerned about the damage to the school.

“We are working with the police and fire service to assess the damage and will update parents when we have more information.”