Fire bosses are urging parents to keep an eye on their children this Easter as they clamp down on deliberate fires.
Parents are being urged by Cleveland Fire Brigade to help tackle arson as figures show they are on the rise.
The appeal comes after latest figures show that fire setters in the area cost £470,000 during the same holiday break last year when there almost 300 incidents, including 37 in Hartlepool.
There was also a 10% increase in the number of deliberate fires during Easter 2015 compared to 2014. Buildings, wheelie bins, rubbish and grasslands have all been targeted in recent years.
Deliberate fires divert resources away from real emergencies where lives may be at risk.
Phil Lancaster, director of community protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We are urging parents to make sure they know where their youngsters are and to keep them out of trouble. The last thing you would want is your child to end up with a criminal record. We are working closely with the police and immediate action will be taken against anyone involved with deliberately starting a fire. Clearing up arson costs thousands of pounds and can take our firefighters away from vital life-saving protection work or attending real emergencies.
“Arson will not be tolerated. We want everyone to enjoy the Easter break but to be responsible.”
During Easter 2015 there were 277 deliberate fires, a 10% increase on the Easter break in 2014 when there were 253 incidents.
There were 81 incidents in Redcar and Cleveland and 37 in Hartlepool from the period March 27 to April 13.
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Downes, said: “There is no excuse for deliberately setting fire to anything. Arsonists put lives in danger. Young people need to know that their actions could take someone’s life and it could ultimately cost them their freedom.”
If anyone has information about arson or anti-social behaviour, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or the police on 101.