People are being urged to help combat arsonists in the run up to Bonfire Night.
“Don’t fuel their fire” is the message from Cleveland Fire Brigade and Cleveland Police who are urging Hartlepool residents to help tackle rubbish fires this bonfire season.
All residents are being encouraged to keep their bins secure and out of sight to avoid them becoming a target for arsonists.
Last year there were 214 deliberate fires across Cleveland over the bonfire period October 15 to November 12 – costing the local community nearly half a million pounds. Hartlepool saw a 32 per cent increase in deliberate fires costing £82,000.
Phil Lancaster, director of community protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We are urging residents to ensure they only put their bins out on the morning of collection and to bring them in as soon as possible to protect themselves and their property.
“Fires involving rubbish and bins can easily spread to your home, putting you at risk. To protect yourself, your family and your community, please follow our simple advice not just this bonfire season but all year round.”
Chief Superintendent Glenn Gudgeon, from Cleveland Police, said: “We have had several cases recently of bins being set on fire and then extended to premises, potentially putting lives at risk.
“A life sentence can be imposed on the offence of arson with intent to endanger life and we don’t want any young people sitting in prison for many years contemplating what was ‘a stupid act of fun’ when they were young.
“Parents must also take responsibility for what their children are doing, where they are and who they are with. Equipping them with the knowledge around the dangers of starting fires will help to keep the whole community safe over the coming weeks.”
If anyone has any information about arson or anti-social behaviour in their area, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or police on 101.
For further information and safety advice visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/bonfire or follow the bigade on facebook.com/clevelandfb or Twitter @clevelandfb.