Steps to stop arson

Bin FireTaking simple safety steps could stop businesses and householders being easy targets for arsonists this summer.

The tips for residents from Cleveland Fire Brigade include not leaving your wheelie bins and rubbish out before collection day and getting the local council to collect unwanted furniture and other items from holiday clear-outs.

Businesses are urged to ensure skips and waste bins have locks and are kept in a secure place well away from buildings.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Enough is enough. Let’s make it as difficult as possible for those who are thinking of behaving totally irresponsibly and causing damage.

“Residents should put bins out only on the morning of collection and bring them back in as quickly as possible. Avoid leaving any rubbish or unwanted household items lying around outside your property. Businesses also need to take sensible precautions.

Fires involving rubbish and bins can easily spread to your home or business. Don’t let it happen to you. We are working closely with the police and action will be taken against anyone deliberately starting a fire.”

The appeal comes after latest figures show that fire setters cost Cleveland nearly £900,000 during the 2015 holiday break.

Buildings, wheelie bins, rubbish and grasslands have all been targeted in recent years. Deliberate fires divert resources away from real emergencies where lives may be at risk.

Last summer (July 11 to September 7) there were 448 deliberate fires – a 31% increase on the same period in 2014.

During summer 2015 there were 152 deliberate fires in Middlesbrough; 146 in Redcar and Cleveland, 82 in Stockton and 68 in Hartlepool.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Downes, from Cleveland Police, said: “These types of offences will not be tolerated. Ultimately, arsonists could put lives in danger and anyone who commits such offences will be brought to justice.”

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.