An elderly couple from Warwickshire who were killed in a suspected arson attack were being targeted by a gang of youths, neighbours have claimed.

Albert and Kath Adams, both 77, from Rugby, died after a gang set fire to a mobility scooter in their porch.

The couple were trapped when the flames spread to their ground-floor flat in the early hours of Saturday.

Local residents have claimed they were targeted after they challenged youths who were allegedly terrorising their sheltered housing complex.

Mr and Mrs Adams, who had been married for 56 years, lived in Harold Cox Place, a warden-controlled complex with well-kept communal gardens for its 34 elderly residents.

A neighbour in her 80s said Mr and Mrs Adams, had previously confronted a ‘rowdy gang’ who were shouting and playing loud music.

She said: “Kath and Albert were not the type of people to stand for it. They tried to tackle the yobs but they just got verbally abused.”

Arsonists also struck again on Monday setting fire to another scooter a few doors away and leaving residents of the Rugby frightened.

Warwickshire Police said they had received no complaints about anti-social behaviour in the months leading up to the deaths, but another neighbour said she and her husband had not reported the incidents to police.

She said: ‘We just thought, “What’s the point? They won’t do anything”.’

Details of the arson came as the Prime Minister announced a crackdown on anti- social behaviour and pledged to make neighbourhood officers spend 80 per cent of their time on the beat.

Gordon Brown said: “I believe there has to be a guarantee that the system as a whole will help. No one should be left to face a predicament like Fiona Pilkington’s alone.”

But Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said ministers were clueless about dealing with ‘broken Britain’.

He said: “Communities up and down Britain are being blighted by anti-social behaviour and in some places a culture of violent crime. We can’t go on like this.”