Young people and their parents are being warned not to mistake acts of criminal damage as mischief in the run up to Halloween and Bonfire Night.
Officers have issued the strong message ahead of “mischief night” on October 30.
Unofficial bonfires aren’t mischief. They’re arson.Ian Hayton
Already homes of known offenders have been visited by police and fire officers to remind them if their children are found carrying out damage or causing an issue, there will be serious consequences - including having tendency agreements revoked.
Superintendent John Lyons said: “Those who commit acts of crime and criminal damage are not being mischievous, they are carrying out criminal offences and it won’t be tolerated.
“My message to parents is: ‘do you know where your children are and what they are doing?’
“We recognise that there may be some children that do not go out intending to commit antisocial behaviour, crime and disorder, but could be drawn into it with others who are intent on doing so.”
“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.”
Dispersal notices will be in place in hotspot areas as well as high visibility patrols and youngsters will be signposted to diversionary activities.
Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer of Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “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.”