A CHARITY worker says he has just five days to save the life of a seven-year-old child torched by the Russian mafia.

Mariana, who lives in Romania, suffered 85 per cent burns after a gallon drum of petrol was poured over her and set alight.

Teesside plastic surgeon, Dr Charles Viva, says he will operate on her for free if charity worker Rod Jones can find the £10,000 needed to bring her here.

However, the doctor, who has seen photographs and video footage of the girl, says she has only five to seven days to live if she does not receive proper treatment.

Mr Jones, the founder of Convoy Aid to Romania, said Mariana's father, a forestry commission manager, angered the Russian mafia by standing up to their multi-million pound racket in stolen timber.

Mr Jones, 55, said they attacked the child as she played in the garden. He says he has received a warning from gangsters to keep away.

But the charity worker, who has so far received £400 for an antibiotic spray for the child, is now trying to bring her to England.

He said that £7,000 was needed to fly the girl, her mother and a doctor from Romania to Britain.

British Airways has insisted she must be flown first class. She must then be kept in a private hospital until Dr Viva can operate on her.

"I don't expect to raise the money in a few days," said Mr Jones. "I can't sleep for this. I just want this girl given a chance."

Mr Jones also needs a volunteer doctor to fly with Mariana and accommodation for her mother.

Anyone who can help is asked to call Convoy Aid on (01642) 613106.