AN increase in fires and anti-social behaviour in a derelict building in Hartlepool is causing grave concern to both the Fire Brigade and the Police, with lives being put at risk.
Tunstall Court in the West Park area of Hartlepool is a known target of arsonists and both the Police and Fire Brigade have been working together to try and stop this behaviour. Unfortunately over the summer months there was an increase in incidents of over 1000%, as the Brigade was called to 11 fires between April and August this year, compared to only one incident in the same period last year.
Both Fire and police officers are urging parents and guardians to ensure they know where their children are and if they know their children are entering the property, to discourage this activity and report such incidents before it is too late.
Steve Patton, Hartlepool Station Manager at Cleveland Fire Brigade spoke about his concerns saying, “Not only are the perpetrators breaking the law by entering the private property and setting fires, but they are also putting themselves and fire crews at risk.
“Tunstall Court is an extremely dilapidated building with many dangers and whoever is entering the building is putting themselves in a very dangerous situation.
“It is time for this behaviour to stop before someone gets seriously hurt. The Brigade is working closely with Cleveland Police to catch the trespassers so they can be dealt with accordingly.”
Police Community Support Office from the South and Central Neighbourhood Police Team, Cath Jones, said: “It’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed on this site, these incidents must stop and parents need to take responsibility for where their children are.
“It’s shocking to see the numbers of young people trying to get access to the site, Tunstall Court is dangerous and we will take action against anyone found trespassing or acting violently towards our fire colleagues.
“We have been called twenty five times to the site in the last eight weeks so it’s certainly a drain on our resources.”
Both the Fire Brigade and the Police will continue working closely together with all partners to put a stop to arson and anti-social activities at this property, because enough is enough.
If you have any information on the what is happening at Tunstall Court, or on the perpetrators themselves, call Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555 111, or Cleveland Police on 101.