“Don’t fuel their fire” – that’s the message from Cleveland Fire Brigade and its partners who are urging residents to help tackle rubbish fires this bonfire season.
The Brigade, along with Cleveland Police and Redcar & Cleveland Council is encouraging all residents 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 15 October to 12 November – costing the local community nearly half a million pounds. Redcar & Cleveland saw a 20 per cent increase in deliberate fires costing £126,000.
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 arrest 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.”
Councillor Helen McLuckie, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods at Redcar & Cleveland Council, added:
“In the lead up to bonfire night it is important that residents pay extra attention to how they store their wheelie bins and unwanted items, to help keep people safe and prevent anti-social behaviour.
“The most important step that anyone can take is to simply store bins away, ideally behind locked gates, especially at night and to make sure that rubbish does not pile up close to buildings.
“We ask that bins are presented from 7am on the morning of collection and then brought back inside as soon as they can after they have been collected, and we would suggest by no later than 7pm.”
If anyone has any information about arson or anti-social behaviour in their area, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or the Police on 101.
For further information and safety advice visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/bonfire or follow us on Facebook (/clevelandfb) or Twitter (@clevelandfb).