Hartlepool’s mischief makers warned to keep night good natured - or else face losing their home or court action

Chief fire officer of Cleveland Fire Brigade Ian Hayton.
Chief fire officer of Cleveland Fire Brigade Ian Hayton.
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Crimes should not be committed under the guise of mischief night in a police warning ahead of the celebrations.

A number of parents and their children have already been visited by police and partners who have warned that crime and criminal damage should not be mistaken for mischief.

Those who commit acts of crime and criminal damage are not being mischievous, they are being criminals and it won’t be tolerated.

Superintendent Ian Coates

The warning comes on the back of strong messages by senior officers about parental responsibility.

Mischief Night traditionally occurs on October 30 each year and has historically been a busy period for officers.

Last year, Cleveland Police received an additional 750 calls for service in the week leading up to mischief night, when compared to other typically busy weeks in the summer of that year.

The force, Cleveland Fire Brigade and housing organisation Thirteen Group have visited the homes of known offenders, and their parents, to warn that if the children are found to be causing issues on mischief night or half term, there could be serious consequences.

Parents could face losing their home under breaches of their tenancy agreements and criminal action could be taken if deemed appropriate.

Dispersal notices will be in place in hotspot areas as well as high visibility patrols and youngsters will be signposted to diversionary activities.

Councils have also been heavily involved in planning.

Superintendent Ian Coates said: “Those who commit acts of crime and criminal damage are not being mischievous, they are being criminals and it won’t be tolerated.

“My message to parents is: ‘do you know where your children are and what they are doing?’

“We’ll be carrying out high visibility patrols, making full use of legislation around dispersal orders and also signposting youths to diversionary activities.

“Let this be a warning to those who think it’s acceptable to commit crime this half term, we won’t tolerate it and you may well face criminal proceedings in a court of law.”

Ian Hayton, chief fire officer of Cleveland Fire Brigade, added: “Our message is clear – unofficial bonfires aren’t mischief.
“They’re arson.

“We will continue to work alongside the police and other partners to ensure people responsible for arson are held to account.”

Gilly Marshall, antisocial behaviour manager for Thirteen, said: “We want our communities to be safe and pleasant places to live and we hope people recognise there is a distinct line between crime and anti-social behaviour, and being mischievous.

“We take a tough stance and we will take appropriate action when it is necessary.”