Arsonists cost taxpayers £500,000 in just two weeks

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ARSON attacks in just two weeks cost taxpayers more than £500,000, say fire chiefs.

Firefighters attended 279 deliberate small fires across the Cleveland Fire Brigade area during the Easter holidays, between March 28 and April 14.

The large majority of the incidents were grass fires, costing a total of £549,630, and come weeks after the brigade launched its ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign against arson.

Across Hartlepool there were 31 deliberate small fires during that period with Summerhill Country Park being highlighted as one area which is prone to arson attacks

Phil Lancaster, director of community protection with the brigade, said: “Overall, arson is falling significantly year on year, but it still accounts for 71 per cent of fires.

“These latest figures over the Easter period demonstrate there is still much work to be done to tackle arson. We are continuing to work closely with our partners and local communities to put a stop to it once and for all.

“Grass fires not only blight our landscape and harm our countryside, they also put the lives of residents, firefighters, visitors and animals in danger.”

Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or Cleveland Police by telephoning 101.