Fire service winning battle against arsonists

ARSON incidents in Rotherham are falling according to new figures.

In a report from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR), small deliberate fires, such as bin and grass fires, have fallen by 12 per cent, with 20 fewer incidents this April compared to the same month last year.

The drop comes despite deliberate fires traditionally increasing in April, due to lighter nights, better weather and the spring school holiday break.

The authority said that cycle patrols and school visits had led to the reductions.

Patrols are delivered jointly by the fire service and South Yorkshire Police and involve two-person teams visiting remote locations which are known arson hot spots, to deter would-be fire-starters and identify potential arson risks.

But fire safety officers are urging residents to remain vigilant as the battle to drive down deliberate small fires continues throughout the summer.

SYFR’s Martin Oldknow, East Area group manager, said: “The cycle patrol teams are just one of our weapons in the fight against deliberate fires, which are a massive drain on our resources, cost the tax payer millions of pounds every year and represent a significant safety risk to the public.

“But residents must stay vigilant to the threat of arson and help us maintain these reductions, by telling us about potential arson risks, safely storing their rubbish and reporting firesetters who might be operating in their area.”

Advice given to residents includes putting wheelie bins out early on the morning of collection, rather than the night before, taking your bin from the kerbside as soon as possible after collection and storing rubbish away from buildings, but within the boundary of your property.

People are also encouraged to report arsonists, anonymously, to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Residents can also report potential arson risks in their community, such as fly-tipping or problems with wheelie bin fires, by visiting the fire service website www.syfire.gov.uk.