Warning as teenage trespassers are breaking into former Sunderland police station and starting fires
Teenage trespassers have been warned they face arrest for entering a former Sunderland police station.
Northumbria Police says gangs of young people are risking their lives by trespassing on the site of the old Farringdon station, near North Moor Lane.
The privately-owned site is currently vacant, but in recent weeks police and fire crews have been made aware of groups congregating there - with some being involved in anti-social behaviour and starting fires inside.
There have been warnings about possible exposure to asbestos in the building.
Neighbourhood Inspector Marie Pollock said uniformed and plain-clothed officers would be carrying out regular patrols and anybody found trespassing also faced arrest.
“This particular site is unsafe. It may also contain hazardous materials that can have serious health consequences,” she said.
“Trespassing on this site is illegal and anybody found on the premises faces possible arrest and being put before the courts.
“We would ask parents to make sure they speak to their children about these risks so they can keep themselves out of trouble, and if you see anybody on the site, please pick up the phone and give us a call immediately.”Over the last 12 months, Northumbria Police have recorded 15 incidents of trespassing at the former station - with the fire service also having regularly been called to attend incidents at the site.
Richie Rickaby Area Manager for Community Safety at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “Over the last few weeks we have been called out to several fires at the site, one of which had firefighters tackling a blaze for two hours.
“This building is extremely dangerous and is certainly not a playground.
“Due to the scale of the building and reports of homeless people seeking refuge in and near the site, we treat call outs as ‘persons reported’, which means a minimum of three fire appliances attend and therefore aren’t available for other fires or emergencies.”
Anyone who sees intruders in the building should call police on 101. Anybody who knows the identity of those involved are asked to contact officers via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the force website or by ringing 101.