The crumbling remains of a garage destroyed by fire five months ago has become a playground for young people, residents claim.

People living close to Sutton Courtenay Tyres, in High Street, have called for the owners to properly secure the site after it emerged that youngsters in the area were able to squeeze through the barbed wire fencing.

Firefighters believe that an electrical fault started January's fire, which spread to gas canisters, causing explosions. More than 90 people were evacuated from their homes while the firefighters fought to get the blaze under control.

All that remains of the garage are burnt-out cars and blackened walls.

Adam Woodley, a member of staff at the garage's other branch, Abingdon Tyres, said the site could not be touched while the insurance claim goes through. However, he hoped that work would begin to rebuild the garage in the next month.

In the meantime, Sutton Courtenay Parish Council chairman Michael Jenkins, wants a solid barrier to be installed around the site.

He said: "People are concerned that it's a potential risk to children and the barriers that are there are not exactly child-proof.

"There is genuine concern about the possibilities of somebody getting injured in there - there are mangled rusty cars and there are also some pieces of concrete that don't seem to be terribly secure.

"I know the neighbours have seen children in there. There are places where you can squeeze through."

Wendy Caudle, who lives behind the garage in Southfield Drive, said: "It's like a magnet for the youths of the village who hang around there. Someone could get hurt."

Mr Woodley said that he was not aware of the site not being secured properly.

He said: "If there was concern I would have hoped that the authorities would have let us know because we can't be down there 24/7.

"Now that you have said there is a problem, we obviously will do something about it."

Nikki Malin, spokesman for the Vale of White Horse District Council, said officers do have powers to serve a waste land notice to the owners to clear up the site, but have decided not to.

She said: "At such an early stage, bearing in mind it was only in January it happened, we have got to accept it takes time to sort out insurance."