Braunston residents were given a rude awakening in the early hours of Monday morning when a car was abandoned and set alight on the Barby road.
The fire, believed by police to be arson, was started around 2.45am. Residents heard a series of loud bangs which sounded like gunshots, but in fact were likely to be caused by the car back-firing.
It is believed the car was driven through the village, possibly hitting several bins, before the driver stopped it. It was then set alight.
Anne Green, a Braunston resident, posted to Facebook: “I heard a really dodgy vehicle going past us around 2am to 3am. Didn’t sound good.”
Another resident, Patsy Clarke, said her husband woke to find many of the bins outside houses in Church Road had been knocked over, leaving gardens and the road strewn with rubbish, including broken glass.
She said: “My husband and a neighbour walked along and up righted many.
“There were police and a fire engine and a car on fire on Barby lane. My husband saw what looked like a red Peugeot travelling at speed down Barby lane.”
Two police cars and a fire engine responded to the incident, with the fire quickly being brought under control. No one was hurt.
The road remained closed on until noon on Monday, after which officers removed the wreckage.
Police are having difficulty in tracing the car, which appears to be a small hatchback, as the licence plates were nearly destroyed in the blaze.
A police spokesman said: “We were called at 2.45am in the morning to reports of a car ablaze near the Greenway. The car appears to be a small hatchback.
“No one was hurt in the incident and we are trying to identify the vehicle.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Northamptonshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Abandoned vehicles have been a concern for local authorities as they are targets for vandalism, arson and other crime.
Northamptonshire County Council launched a ELVIS in 2005 to allow people to report abandoned vehicles for collection within 48 hours.