Arson attacks rise by more than a third in last two years
Fire chiefs are calling on parents for support to help prevent their children setting potentially deadly fires during the upcoming school holidays.
The plea by Cleveland Fire Brigade comes after a 36% increase in deliberate fires across Cleveland in the last two years.
With half term coming up and the nights getting lighter, it is asking parents to make sure they know where their children are and also remove any rubbish away from houses and other properties.
John Feeney, district manager at Cleveland Fire Brigade said: “Make no mistake deliberate fire setting is a blight on the whole community and is irresponsible.
“Buildings, wheelie bins, rubbish and grasslands have all been targeted recently.
“We are asking people to remove any rubbish away from their properties and for parents to remind their children of the severe consequences of starting fires.
“These fires divert our firefighters away from real emergencies where lives may be at risk and can also cause serious damage to property and the environment.
“All our appliances are fitted with CCTV cameras and any evidence of people starting fires will be passed to the police and appropriate action taken.
“We need the help of everyone in the community to stop these incidents.”
There were 345 fires in April and May in 2016 compared to 468 from April to May 20 this year.
Superintendent Bev Gill, from Cleveland Police added: “While some people may believe that by setting fire to an object they may not hurt anyone, arsonists do take risks which could leave someone seriously injured or could potentially kill someone.
“This type of behaviour will not be tolerated and we will work together with Cleveland Fire Brigade to ensure that anyone committing such acts is put before the courts wherever possible.”
Anyone who has information about arson or anti-social behaviour in their area, is urged to call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.