Fire warning after Hartlepool’s Summerhill Country Park hit by multiple suspected arson attacks over Easter weekend

Police and firefighters are warning youths about putting lives and wildlife at risk following a spate of fires in Hartlepool with trees and benches set alight.

By Sue Kirby
Friday, 26 April, 2019, 07:47
One of the fires at Summerhill in Hartlepool.

Summerhill, off Catcote Road,in Hartlepool, was hit more than a dozen times during the Easter weekend with suspected arson attacks.

Now Cleveland Police and Cleveland Fire Brigade are warning youths about the dangers of these blazes.

Hartlepool Borough Council, which operates the Summerhill site, has also condemned the attacked and called on visitors to be their ' eyes and ears by reporting any illegal or suspicious activity to the police immediately'.

A spokesman for Cleveland Police said the Summerhill area of Hartlepool was targeted and benches and trees were set alight.

It is believed youths are responsible for the attacks.

Damage caused in the arson attack in November last year at Summerhill.

Following the latest attacks, Steve Johnson, an area manager for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: "Arson is a crime, it causes untold damage within communities.

"It diverts resources away from where they are most needed. For the brigade this could be in terms of being unable to attend more serious emergencies, where lives may be at risk, it could be your friends or family who need help.

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"We will not tolerate arson. We are calling on everyone across our communities to say ‘Enough is Enough’ and not to accept these incidents as the ‘norm’.

"We all need to work together to take a pride in our areas."

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “Officers work closely with Cleveland Fire Brigade in a bid to tackle this sort of behaviour.

"There is no excuse for starting fires and parents need to ensure that youngsters are being responsible and sensible.

“Arsonists put lives and wildlife in danger. Young people need to take responsibility for their actions and realise that they could seriously injure or kill someone, which could ultimately cost them their freedom.”

A spokesman for the council said: “We utterly condemn the irresponsible actions of the people who lit these fires, causing damage to important facilities and valuable wildlife habitats.

"We would urge people to respect the site at all times and we would also ask visitors to be our eyes and ears by reporting any illegal or suspicious activity to the police immediately.”

If anyone has any information regarding the arson attacks, or the youths responsible, they are asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101 quoting 067847.

They can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.