Crackdown on arsonists

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A FIRE brigade are launching a wide-ranging crackdown on arsonists after we launched our own campaign to Stamp It Out.

The Hartlepool Mail joined police, firefighters and Hartlepool Borough Council at the beginning of the month in a bid to stop firelighters risking lives in the town.

Now Cleveland Fire Brigade are rolling out an “Enough is Enough” campaign after it was revealed that three-quarters of fire-related incidents cost the Teesside area £16.7m during 2011-2012.

In total last year, there were 3,029 arson incidents across Cleveland, with 378 in Hartlepool.

The launch of both campaigns coincides with the school summer holidays, which traditionally see a rise in deliberate blazes.

Phil Lancaster, the brigade’s director of community protection, said: “Deliberate fire setting ruins lives, ruins communities, ruins local businesses and we are encouraging people to say ‘Enough is Enough’.

“Why should the people of this area put up with this sort of behaviour? Deliberate lighting of any fires will not and should not be tolerated by anyone and we have this message: We are watching you and you will be caught.”

The campaign will see community patrols, a poster campaign, leaflet drops and radio advertising.

Mr Lancaster added that the brigade will also continue to work closely with the police to bring suspected arsonists before the courts.

He said: “We have an excellent working relationship with the police and our partner organisations, and our highly trained and experienced arson investigators will continue to work in collaboration to do everything we can to prevent arson and to ensure all incidents are fully investigated.

“Arsonists will be caught and prosecuted.”

He is urging residents to pass on information about suspected arsonists by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

The brigade are also providing free home fire safety visits and will fit smoke alarms if needed.

Call (01429) 874063 to arrange a visit.