Crackdown on deliberate and dangerous fires

Emergency services in the North East have teamed up to tackle the issue of deliberate fireraising in the area.

The initiative, launched last week with a dramatic demonstration of a wheelie bin fire, is aimed at raising awareness.

The flames were hot enough to melt the plastic of the wheelie bin.

The flames were hot enough to melt the plastic of the wheelie bin.

As many as 100 costly and potentially life-threatening fires are started deliberately in the Banff and Buchan area every year.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is now taking preventative action.

Local Senior Officer David Rout, who supervises 36 fire stations across Aberdeenshire and Moray, was on hand at Wednesday’s demonstration.

He said: “Today’s demonstration shows the serious risks involved in setting fire to things like wheelie bins and the danger posed to vehicles, people, property and the enviroment when these fires get out of control.

The flames took hold of the wheelie bin within minutes.

The flames took hold of the wheelie bin within minutes.

“We want to highlight just how dangerous this type of illegal practice can be and we would urge people to support the multi-agency group during this campaign.

“Together we can make our communities safer places to live, work and visit.”

The multi-agency group includes firefighters and police officers as well as community wardens and staff from Aberdeenshire Council.

The demonstration at Peterhead Fire Station showed how quickly a fire in a wheelie bin can get out of control.

A firefighter with breathing apparatus interved with a waterhose.

A firefighter with breathing apparatus interved with a waterhose.

LSO Rout advises people not to leave bins out overnight, to be vigilant with the bins of neighbours who are away from home and, crucially, to store wheelie bins away from property where they would not obstruct escape routes.

He also described the immense costs of incidents such as this. It can cost the fire services up to £2,000 per wheelie bin fire, on top of clean-up costs and the cost to the council for replacing the bin.

Fraserburgh police inspector Alan Brown attended the demonstration and said: “What we need to remember in all of this is that there is a parental issue involved.

“A few recent fires in our area have involved teenagers. Parents need to take responsibility, they need to know where their kids are.

“It’s all very well letting them get up to mischief but that could lead to them being charged and having a criminal record or, in the worst case scenario, they could start a fire that leads to a loss of life.”

Representatives from the Police and Fire services have urged anyone within information about fireraising incidents to report it to their nearest police station.

Members of the public wishing to report an incident anonymously can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.