Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service is working with Northumbria Police and Northumberland County Council to urge residents to help prevent bin fires across the county.
As Bonfire night approaches, residents need to be aware of the hazards involved in leaving their bins in an unsecure area. To reduce the risk of bins being stolen residents should secure them in a rear yard or garden and not leave them where they are easily accessible.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer, Alex Bennett, said: "Last year there were some isolated areas that saw a rise in this type of incident. The youngsters involved are putting themselves and others in danger, particularly if there are houses nearby, as fire can spread very quickly.
“The act of setting wheelie bins and rubbish on fire is not just a bit of mischief, it is a criminal offence and any incident will be treated as such. We urge people to only put wheelie bins out on the day of collection and to bring them in as soon as they have has been emptied. If you are going to be out all day, then ask a neighbour to do this on your behalf.”
Young volunteers police cadets and young fire-fighters have been helping to distribute safety leaflets reminding people to look after their wheelie bins in areas which have previously been targeted.
Chief Inspector Aidan Sloan, of Northumberland Area Command said: "Wheelie bin fires are not only a nuisance but can lead to people being hurt and other property being damaged, including vehicles, fences or even properties. The Fire and Rescue Service also has to be called out to deal with them, which is a drain on their resources during this busy time of year, and the householder has to foot the bill for a replacement bin. We think the best way to tackle this menace is to prevent having to clean up the mess.
“We want to remind people that setting fire to a wheelie bin is an act of criminal damage, it simply won't be tolerated and those responsible will face the consequences of their actions."
For more information on bonfire safety click here