Police have launched an investigation after a Thai restaurant was victim of a suspected arson attack.

Fire crews were called to Thai upon Thames, in Richmond Road, on Wednesday morning, shortly after 3am.

Nine people in flats above escaped unharmed.

The London Fire Brigade was alerted by two men on their way to work. They knocked on doors nearby to warn people of the fire.

The door of the restaurant was damaged and there was smoke damage inside.

Police have recovered CCTV from the restaurant and are working to identify possible suspects.

Mark Hardy, company secretary of Thai upon Thames, said the fire had shocked staff.

The 46-year-old said: “The restaurant was damaged to some extent but it is a relief that there was no loss of life.

“The restaurant can be repaired but loss of life or serious injuries cannot be repaired so that was our biggest concern.

“The fire was out very quickly.”

CCTV shows somebody pouring liquid by the door of the restaurant, before using a lighter to set it on fire, Mr Hardy said.

He said: “This is really unbelievable.

“I always think of this as a really safe area, somewhere you don’t need to look over your shoulder at night so this is really shocking.

“Until the police catch somebody we are just left thinking who could it be and why us?”

Det Con Paul Carlson, of Richmond CID, said: “We are currently investigating the circumstances of this fire.

“We would ask anyone who saw anything suspicious, or has any information about this incident, to contact Richmond police as a matter of urgency.”

Anyone with information should contact Richmond CID by calling the non-emergency number 101 and quote reference 0702736/14.

The restaurant will remain closed for the next five to six weeks but is still accepting delivery orders via hungryhouse.co.uk and takeaway.com.