Safety warning after spate of wheelie bin arson attacks

Following a spate of wheelie bin fires in the county, fire chiefs in Northumberland are urging residents to store their wheelie bins in a safe place and to report any suspicious behaviour  to the police.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police have received 31 reports of wheelie bin fires over the past six weeks -  all of which occured in the Tynedale area.

Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service said: “ Sadly we are seeing an increase in the number of deliberate wheelie bin fires. As well as being mindless anti-social behaviour, it could end up threatening the lives of innocent people.

Arson is a serious criminal offence. Fire spreads very rapidly and if a wheelie bin is set alight next to a car or a property,  then homes, livelihoods and lives could be put at risk.  

“ The arson attacks also put an unnecessary strain on our resources which could potentially cause a situation where our fire crews are not able to respond to real emergencies as promptly as we would like.”

Businesses and homeowners are being urged to help the emergency services by  keeping their wheelie bins in a secure place  wherever possible, by remaining vigilant  and  reporting any suspicious behaviour to police.

Inspector Pam Bridges from Northumbria Police said: “Setting fires is incredibly dangerous and we are working in partnership with the fire service to identify the offenders and keep our community safe.

“We have increased our patrols in the Hexham area and are continuing to investigate the incidents. We would encourage anybody who has information or has witnessed anything to get in touch by ringing  101.”

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