Last year unofficial bonfires, which are classed as arson, cost the local economy nearly half a million pounds over the four week bonfire period (15 October – 7 November 2015).
The Brigade will be working together with Cleveland Police and councils for the next few weeks on initiatives including patrolling hot-spot areas, school visits and removing bonfire rubbish.
Fire and Police chiefs are also calling on the local community to help reduce deliberate fires by reporting unofficial bonfires, or rubbish that could potentially be set alight, to their local councils to be removed. Residents and businesses can also help by ensuring wheelie bins are secured and away from buildings.
Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer said, “Although arson on the whole has reduced in our area, the period leading up to bonfire night and just after still continues to be one of the busiest times for us. Not only do these fires cause a nuisance to local people and greatly impact on the community as a whole, they tie up fire engines that should be undertaking vital life-saving prevention work or attending real emergencies.
“The local community can play a big part this year in making our community safer by following some of our key safety advice:
- Don’t get involved in unofficial bonfires.
- Report any unofficial bonfires to your local authority.
- 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.
- The safest way to enjoy bonfire night is to attend an organised display.
- If you decide to hold your own fireworks display, always follow the Firework Code.
“We want everyone to enjoy this year’s bonfire period but we want them to do it safely so our message is quite simple: ‘Be Safe not Sorry’.”
Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang, Head of Neighbourhood and Partnership Poling at Cleveland Police, added: “Our key interest is public safety and we will exercise our powers under criminal law to tackle arson in support of this. The public can help by discouraging those contemplating illegal bonfires, but where this fails, I would urge the public to report any incidents immediately. “We will of course be carrying out additional patrols over this busy period, but I hope the community will join us in tackling this nuisance by ensuring those who behave either dangerously or unlawfully, are reported and stopped.”
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.