Seven year old Harvey Ratcliffe is severely autistic, and parents Fiona and Wesley had saved for months to convert the garden shed into a sensory room for their son, full of expensive light equipment, which was also stolen during the raid.
She told the Manchester Evening News:
“Harvey is autistic and suffers from Phelan-McDermid syndrome. He has a processing disorder and he doesn’t recognise danger.
Sometimes he forgets skills he’s learned and there are mornings when he wakes up and cannot remember how to walk.”
“He’s really hard to get presents for and everyone wanted to chip in. It was going to be his own space, somewhere safe where he could do his own thing.
We bought the shed for about £500 and he loves lights and music so we got lasers, disco lights, rope lights and a digital radio. We also laid a padded floor so he wouldn’t hurt himself and painted it blue because he’s a massive Manchester City fan.”
The incident happened before Harvey had experienced his new sensory room.
Detective Inspector Jane Curran said: “This truly is heartbreaking. The family, like every other family across Greater Manchester, were really looking forward to showing their son his Christmas present.
“Whoever did this really has no morals whatsoever. It is a disgusting and cowardly crime.
“Thankfully, we think the weather overnight extinguished the fire otherwise we may have been dealing with a much more serious incident today.”
Anyone with information should contact officers on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.