Arson probe launched after spate of attacks at Summerhill

Damage caused by fires at Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre.
Damage caused by fires at Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre.

Arsonists have been slammed after starting a string of fires at a popular nature site.

Staff at Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre in Hartlepool have spoken of their ‘shock and disappointment’ following a number of fires.

Damage caused by fires at Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre.

Damage caused by fires at Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre.

Evidence of at least 12 fires has been discovered around the site and this has caused damage to habitats, particularly around pond areas and the edges of woodland.

Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre, which is run by Hartlepool Borough Council, is a 100-acre site off Catcote Road offering a number of play and leisure facilities.

Police have been informed about the damage and are investigating, but staff at Summerhill are also urging members of the public to act as their eyes and ears by reporting any anti-social behaviour they witness on the site.

Adam Reah, from Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre, said: “We work hard to provide a beautiful space for local people to enjoy and we are really shocked and disappointed that people feel the need to damage the natural environment like this.

“This type of selfish behaviour doesn’t just affect the wildlife on the site; it also adversely affects the enjoyment of the park for everyone else in Hartlepool.

“Thankfully, the vast majority of people visiting Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre respect the site and we hope the public will support us and help us put a stop to this spate of incidents.

“Summerhill is a unique country park that’s both a local nature reserve and an outdoor activity centre and there is nothing we prefer more than seeing people using the site in a safe and responsible manner.”

People visiting Summerhill Country Park outside of the visitor centre opening times (9am – 5pm Monday to Saturday) are asked to contact 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response. However, you should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress or you see a burning fire.