Hartlepool arson attacks double as authorities identify 30 culprits responsible for starting fires at Summerhill

Fire chiefs and partners are taking positive action after the number of arsons in Hartlepool more than doubled.

Monday, 8th July 2019, 06:00 am
Wheelie bin arson.

There were 277 deliberate fires across the town between March 13 and June 16 this year – a 167% rise compared to 104 for the same time period in 2018.

Most were wheelie bins, rubbish and grass fires.

Cleveland Fire Brigade has stepped up efforts with partner agencies to tackle the issue, which has seen over 30 people identified for setting fires at Summerhill Country Park.

Hartlepool's Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre. Picture by Chris Armstrong

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There has been an increase in fires in Hartlepool from 141 for the time period in 2018 to 313 this year, though accidental fires have gone down.

As previously reported, Cleveland Fire Brigade is now the best in the UK at keeping people safe in their homes.

A Cleveland Fire Brigade spokesman said: “There has been a recent increase in deliberate fires in Hartlepool and we take arson very seriously, it endangers people’s lives, damages property and our communities.

“As part of Hartlepool Community Safety Partnership (alongside Cleveland Police and Hartlepool Council) we are working together to use a number of measures to tackle the deliberate fires issue.

“Our work in the Summerhill area enabled us to identify over 30 individuals responsible for deliberate fires who will be provided with support such as the council’s restorative programmes as well as our own fire setter intervention scheme to help change their behaviours and understand the consequences of fire setting.

“We regularly carry out days of action which cover anti-social behaviour, rubbish and fly tipping and offer safety advice, for example, we recently carried out a day of action in Manor House ward targeting wheelie bin fires.

“We are also working with partners to address the issue of derelict buildings and ensuring they are secure.”

The brigade has also written to all Hartlepool secondary schools to highlight the issue.

And one person was identified for starting fires in another arson hotspot in Dent Street thanks to council CCTV cameras and patrols of the area.

Incidents of arson can be reported confidentially to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.