Brigade declares ‘Enough is Enough’

‘Stop Arson – Enough is Enough’. That’s the strong message from Cleveland Fire Brigade as it prepares to launch its latest campaign on Monday (25 March).

The announcement comes as figures reveal that incidents of arson fell last year by almost 30% from 2,931 to 2,088 – a reduction of 840.

Despite the drop, arson still accounts for 71% of fires across Cleveland and over the last three years it has cost the people of Cleveland a whopping £42m.

Brigade bosses have chosen Port Clarence as the location for the launch – the scene of one of the biggest arson fires in recent years, when the Jigsaw wood recycling plant was deliberately set alight one year ago.

Firefighters worked round the clock for nine days tending to the fire, which not only cost almost £750,000 but affected the community at Port Clarence as they lived with smoke from the fire.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection with Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We will not let up in our battle against arson and it really is encouraging that incidents are reducing.

“As was evident with the Jigsaw fire last year, arson ruins lives, devastates communities and can destroy businesses which is why we are saying ‘Stop Arson because ‘Enough is Enough’.

“Deliberate lighting of any fires will not and should not be tolerated by anyone and we have this other message – we are watching you and you will be caught.”

Jean Orridge, Headteacher of High Clarence Primary School, said:High Clarence has always had good links with both the Fire Brigade and the Police and the arson attack at the Jigsaw plant has helped to strengthen those links.

“Many of the children were frightened by seeing the fire so close to their homes and the school, and it was important that the community worked together to help the children feel safe again.

“Since then, the school has worked with a range of agencies such as Junior Neighbourhood Watch, aimed at showing the children the impact and consequences of arson and the dangers associated with it. We are really happy to support this campaign which will help to educate other children on how to keep their communities safe from arson.”

Mr Lancaster also appealed for communities to play their part in beating arson.

He said: “The Fire Brigade, Police and other key agencies have excellent links with local communities and if anyone has suspicions that people they know might be involved in arson, we would urge them to get in touch. With the lighter nights and spring just around the corner, we will be working closely with the Police, stepping up our patrols across theClevelandarea.”

People can ring the Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you want to remain anonymous.

At the launch, schoolchildren will play out a courtroom drama to highlight that arson is a crime and the consequences for anyone deliberately starting a fire and the Brigade will be accompanied at the event by representatives from the Police and the Stockton Council to demonstrate the close partnership working to beat arson.

Other aspects of the campaign include advertising, leaflets, posters, activities for youngsters, the use of social media and a competition. The Brigade has also produced a video to highlight the devastation caused by arson. This can be viewed at www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/arson along with other campaign information.