War on arsonists after last summer saw 25% rise in deliberate fires in Hartlepool

The fire-damaged North Gare Sand Dunes.

The fire-damaged North Gare Sand Dunes.

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An arson crackdown has been launched to combat a 25% rise in incidents during the school summer holidays this time last year.

Cleveland Fire Brigade has launched the campaign targeting firestarters as deliberate blazes in Hartlepool increased during the eight-week period covering the school summer holidays compared to the previous two months.

Phil Lancaster, director of community protection for Cleveland Fire Brigade, is urging people to stay safe this bonfire night.

Phil Lancaster, director of community protection for Cleveland Fire Brigade, is urging people to stay safe this bonfire night.

The brigade tackled 85 fires from July 11 to September 7 last year, compared to 68 from May 16 to July 11.

“There will be no let-up in our efforts to tackle arson in our communities” – that’s the message from the brigade as it launches its summer campaign to stop deliberate fires.

Arson accounts for around 70% of fires across Cleveland and the Brigade’s Enough is Enough campaign aims to educate young people and the wider public about the dangers and consequences of starting fires.

Last year, deliberate fires in the Cleveland area increased by 18% across the brigade area during the eight week period covering the school summer holidays compared to the previous eight weeks.

This totalled 456 fires from July 11 to September 7 last year, compared to 388 from May 16 to July 11.

Phil Lancaster, director of community protection with Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Arson ruins lives, communities and local businesses and our message is quite simple: Enough is Enough. We are watching you and anyone who starts a deliberate fire is likely to be caught. Our ongoing campaign involves targeting hot-spot areas and we’ll be working closely with the police and other organisations over the summer.”

During 2014/15 deliberate fires cost the brigade £10,906,800, which was a reduction of 8% (£984,000) when compared with 2013/14 and a reduction of 37% (£6,482,400) when compared with 2009/10.

In 2014/15 firefighters attended a total of 2,753 deliberate fires, which was an increase of 2% since 2013/14 and a decrease of 31% (1,239) when compared with 2009/10.

The percentage of fires which are deliberate are also falling at 74% in 2014/15, from 72% in 2013/14 and 89% in 2009/10.

Cleveland Fire Brigade and Cleveland Police work together using the latest technology to undertake joint investigations to determine the causes of fires and who started them.

The brigade runs a programme of diversionary activities for young people during the summer school holidays, visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/news-and-events/events/ for details.

Anyone with information about who is responsible for arson attacks should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or the Cleveland Police non-emergency number 101.