Warning Over Deliberate Fires In Tyne And Wear

3 April 2014, 11:30

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service have told Capital they get called to more deliberate fires in April than at any other time of the year.

Most of these fires occur on grassland, woodland, waste land, in fields, parks and playgrounds.

They are usually started by people setting fire to rubbish, grass, fly tipping, hedges and fences.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service will be working closely with each of the five local authorities to carry out clean ups to get rid of any rubbish or fly tipping.

The new 'Lighter Nights' campaign will also remind residents to only put their bins out on the morning of their collection and to bring them back in again straight afterwards, to avoid them being a target.

Fire officers will be carrying out talks at schools in areas where there are particular issues with anti-social behaviour fires.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has produced a short film to show what could happen as a result of setting an anti-social behaviour fire.

Between 2009/10 and 2012/13 13.4% of anti-social behaviour fires attended by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service were in April, compared to 12.9% in November.

Between 2009/10 and 2012/13 34.2% of all anti-social behaviour fires attended by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service were in March, April and May compared with 23.2% in October and November - the bonfire period.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's statistics show that 76.76% of all fire calls attended by the Service in April 2013 were anti-social behaviour fires.

Group Manager Dave Jefferson, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said:
"The busiest time of year for anti-social behaviour fires is actually April.

Most people think its November, when we are busy with the Bonfire period, but that's not the case, although that is our next busiest time.

Once the clocks change and we have lighter nights we see a real increase in these types of fires. They accounted for 77% of all fire calls we attended during April 2013 and we saw a peak between 7pm and 8pm.

The increase also coincides with the Easter School holidays.

We work closely with our partners such as the local authorities and the police to tackle the issue of setting fires deliberately, as it is criminal offence.

I would urge parents to make sure they know what their children are doing if they go out during the lighter nights and to support this campaign by making them aware of the dangers of setting fires deliberately.

What may seem like a bit of harmless fun can easily lead to something much worse - causing serious damage to property and people's lives. How would they feel if it was their property being damaged or even worse their own life or a family member or friend's life was under threat?

Fire is unpredictable and dangerous, not only can it kill but deliberately setting a fire can leave you with a criminal record and scar you for life."  

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