Safety Group speak out after deliberate Mintlaw fire

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The chairman of Buchan Community Safety Group has spoken out after a fire destroyed hundreds of pounds of sports kit in Mintlaw.

Last week the Buchanie reported that a fire behind Mintlaw Boys Club’s storage container had done significant damage to their equipment.

Mintlaw Boys Club coach Malcolm Whyte showed the Buchanie the spot where the fire began.

Mintlaw Boys Club coach Malcolm Whyte showed the Buchanie the spot where the fire began.

Now safety group chair Sandy Allan has said: “Thankfully on this occasion no one was hurt and the fire extinguished itself before it could spread to cause further damage.

“However, we do need to continue to raise public awareness of the dangers and consequences of deliberately setting fires which can so easily get out of control, causing extensive damage to property and endangering peoples lives.

“As a community we need to be aware of what is going on around us and be prepared to report such suspicious activity before it becomes a more serious matter.”

Mintlaw Boys Club estimate as much as £1,000 damage was done to the storage container near Mintlaw Pavilion and fear they will only be able to replace £400 of the equipment.

Coaches discovered the damage when they were preparing for a regular Thursday training session earlier this month.

By the time they arrived the fire was all but out and strips and expensive netting had been destroyed.

Coach Malcolm Whyte said: “Sadly we arrived for training about 5pm to set up early and noticed an unusual smell.

“When we investigated the smell we found a fire had been lit by someone behind the trailer earlier in the day and it’s caused quite a bit of damage to our container outside.

“Not only that, it’s caused quite a bit of damage to the gear inside.

“A lot of damage has been done to our trailer with lights and the number plate melted off.

“Our nets have been destroyed - again melted by the heat - and some strips.”

Mr Whyte also showed the Buchanie where he had been forced to cut back a tree local youths had previously used to build a rope swing and climb on top of the trailer.

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service told the Buchanie deliberately set fires are ‘extremely irresponsible.’

Duncan McKenzie said: “Deliberately set fires are a risk to people, property and the fire service.

“They also have the potential to delay our arrival at other more serious incidents.

“It is extremely irresponsible, illegal and ties up our resources.

“These incidents also cost a great deal of money.

“Our message to the public would be don’t accept it, report it.”

It is estimated that Scottish firefighters attended around 20,000 deliberately set fires last year.

Each incident can cost the service and communities upwards of £2,000.

Anyone with information about fire setters should call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police Scotland have told the club they will include the spot on their regular patrols.