Lives at risk as Sunderland playing field is targeted in arson attacks

The aftermath of one of the blazes at the playing field captured in a photo by TWFRS.
The aftermath of one of the blazes at the playing field captured in a photo by TWFRS.

Householders have been urged to do their bit to ensure their bin isn't wheeled away and used to fuel a fire started by arsonists.

The plea from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) comes after 23 rubbish fires were started on the King George V Playing Fields, on Hylton Lane Estate in Sunderland, since the start of August.

Nine of those incidents involved wheelie bins and four blazes were dealt with in the last week.

TWFRS says it is "hugely concerned" with this spate of arson attacks and is advising householders to keep a close eye on their wheelie bins.

Watch Manager, Nicole Mordecai said: "Sadly we are seeing an increase in deliberate fires to wheelie bins in the King George Field area.

"Last week we had three wheelie bin fires in the skate park and one on the playing fields.

"Not only is this a shameful waste of community resources, but importantly is incredibly dangerous – not just to the perpetrators - but also for any property tor people who could be nearby.

"Our worry is that as we approach the Bonfire season these incidents will only increase – bringing further untold risk to the community.

"It’s essential that householders take reasonable care to ensure that their bin isn’t stolen to be misused in this way.

"If you leave your bin out on the street overnight, and it is lost, stolen or burned, it could result in you paying the full cost of a replacement.”

The service added that if fire crews are sent out to these types of deliberate fires, they may not be available to respond to a fire elsewhere.

Tyne and Wear Fire Authority chairman and Sunderland City Councillor Tom Wright said: "This is reckless behaviour.

"As well as damaging property, they are risking their own lives and those of our firefighters who have to attend these incidents.

"It’s essential that everyone who has a wheelie bin, makes sure that they are secure – as best as they are able – to help stop these young people from causing even greater harm and further destruction of property.”