Warning following a spate of deliberate fires in the Norton area of Stoke-on-Trent.
I would ask that parents and carers teach their children the dangers of starting fires deliberately and make sure they understand that not only could they hurt themselves or others, but they could end up with a criminal record.
There has been a recent spike in arson incidents and small bonfires in open areas of Pound Gardens and surrounding streets. On several occasions fires have reportedly been started by a group of youths setting alight rubbish, wood and wheelie bins.
These incidents can lead to larger, potentially life-threatening blazes and they also take vital resources away from other incidents.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Staffordshire Police and Stoke-on-Trent City Council are working together to tackle the issue.
Station Manager Roy Daniels from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Fires that are caused deliberately or carelessly in the open can have devastating effects on the environment, but more importantly endanger people’s lives and homes.
“Crews recently attended six deliberate fires in this area during a seven day period this month (19 October – 25 October). These type of incidents waste valuable time and resources that could be better used elsewhere, helping those in danger or carrying out preventative work in the community.
“I would ask that parents and carers teach their children the dangers of starting fires deliberately and make sure they understand that not only could they hurt themselves or others, but they could end up with a criminal record.”
Sergeant Charlie Emmett from Staffordshire Police said: “Young people who set fires deliberately need to consider the possible consequences of their actions and the risk they pose to the local community.
“We are working closely with our partners to tackle the ongoing issue of deliberately set fires in and around the Norton area but we also need residents to be aware and provide us with further details and descriptions of those involved where possible.
“This will help us to ensure that those responsible are made to face the consequences of their actions and hopefully stop future fires from happening.”
Stoke on Trent City Council leader Abi Brown said: “Our teams are visiting the area frequently and will ensure where there is any evidence of bonfires being erected they will be dismantled and the relevant investigations will be done to ensure enforcement action is taken against any individuals who have taken part in this anti-social behaviour.
“We have received information to suggest that local residents are providing wood and flammable materials to support unauthorised bonfires and we urge residents not to do this otherwise we will take any necessary action.”
If you have any information about a deliberately set fire or suspicious activity contact Staffordshire Police on 101 or report online.
If you see a fire do not attempt to tackle it yourself, instead call 999 immediately.