FIRE bosses are urging people to play their part in the fight against arson by following some simple safety advice.
Arson accounted for 76 per cent of incidents that Cleveland Fire Brigade dealt with last year and cost the local economy in excess of £14m.
As part of a month-long campaign to drive arson down, the brigade has issued some basic tips for residents and businesses to help reduce such incidents.
Phil Lancaster, director of community protection with the brigade, said: “We are determined to do everything we can to address this issue. But the support of residents and business staff can help make this campaign more effective.
“Fires involving rubbish and bins can easily spread to homes, putting those who live there at risk.
“In order to protect yourself, your family and your community, please follow this simple advice.
“People are being advised to ensure their wheelie bin or black bags are not left lying around for arsonists to use as fuel.
“They should put their wheelie bin or black bags out on the day of collection and then bring your bin back in as soon as possible afterwards.
“Keep wheelie bins or black bags in a secure place so they can not be used as fuel.”
If people are throwing out old furniture or other household items they are urged to call the council to arrange a collection.
These should be kept in a secure place until the collection takes place.
Mr Lancaster added: “If people are using a skip for building work or rubbish removal, try to fill it and remove it on the same day.
“If not, ask the skip hire company for a skip with a lockable lid and position the skip at least 18ft from your home.”