Bank Holiday warning as gathering gangs and blazes lead to crackdown on Hartlepool's coast

Targeted efforts are underway to end deliberate blazes along Hartlepool’s coastline amid concerns about gangs of youths gathering as lockdown eases.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 7:00 am

Cleveland Police will carry out night time patrols in Seaton Carew after an increase of “unacceptable” incidents.

Cleveland Fire Brigade – while reminding people about the ongoing rule of six - also say that crews have attended incidents where they have been subjected to attacks.

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A photo taken by Barry Hodge showing a blaze on the coast on the evening of Tuesday, March 23.

On Tuesday evening, March 30, the brigade were called to a fire on the dunes at the North Gare end of Seaton just after 7pm and arrived to find a large group of youths gathered.

They were called back just after 10.30pm and again arrived to find a large gang in the area.

Earlier, at 5.40pm, a grass fire was spotted near Crimdon.

A grass fire on the coast near Crimdon could be seen for miles. Photo by Carl Gorse.

A brigade spokesperson said: “Over the last few days we have seen a significant increase in deliberate fire incidents in areas where large groups of youths are gathering.

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"These incidents divert resources away from real emergencies and put our staff in danger.

"We want to remind our communities that while we are following the roadmap out of lockdown the rule of six applies to outdoor gatherings.

Claire McDonald, senior outreach officer at Summerhill Country Park, next to the area of land that was set on fire last week.

"We have also been subject to violence and acts of vandalism when attending these incidents to protect the public we will not tolerate such attacks and will use any evidence we have from our CCTV cameras to support the police to secure a prosecution.”

The latest violence took place during Tuesday incidents at Hemlington and Eston Hills.

Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team’s Temporary Chief Inspector Mark Howarth said: “We were made aware of antisocial behaviour including fires and large groups of young people on the beach at Seaton Carew.

"These scenes are unacceptable and we will be including the area in our ongoing overnight patrols.

“As we go into the Bank Holiday weekend I would urge everyone to remember Covid restrictions against large groups gathering remain in place and we ask parents to be aware of where their children are and what they are doing.”

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