Fire chiefs on Wearside are warning the public of the dangers of deliberate fires.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has launched a campaign – ‘It’s no game playing with someone’s life’ – aimed at making young people aware of the dangers of setting fires deliberately.
The move comes as figures show an increase in the number of deliberate fires set during the spring months of April and May.
The service is warning that, not only do these antisocial behaviour fires cause damage to property, the environment and tie up firefighters unnecessarily, but can also cause injuries and deaths.
Assistant chief fire officer Chris Lowther said: “The busiest time of year for antisocial behaviour fires is actually April. They accounted for 68% of all fire incidents we attended during April 2015, and we saw a peak between 7pm and 9pm.
“The increase also coincides with the Easter school holidays.
“We work closely with our partners such as the local authorities and the police to tackle the issue of setting fires deliberately, as it is a criminal offence.
“I would urge parents to make sure they know what their children are doing if they go out during the lighter nights.
“We need them to support this campaign by making their youngsters aware of the dangers of setting fires deliberately.
“It’s no game playing with someone’s life.”
In Sunderland, fire officers will be visiting schools to deliver fire safety talks to young people, highlighting the dangers and consequences of setting deliberate fires.
Young people on the Prince’s Trust course, Sunderland Council’s street cleansing department and local voluntary groups, will be distributing leaflets informing residents of who to contact should they encounter any problems, and organising litter picks.
Fire crews across Tyne and Wear will be visiting local hot spot areas as part of their usual routine and reporting any potential targets for fires to their local authorities so they can be removed.