Cleveland Fire Brigade counts cost of holiday arson

Grass fire on Eston Hills
Image caption Grass fires were in locations including Eston Hills

The cost of dealing with arson attacks on Teesside over the Easter holiday period amounted to almost £550,000, the brigade has said.

Between 8 March and 14 April, crews attended 279 deliberate small fires, the large majority on grassland.

Most were at Eston Hills near Redcar, or Hartlepool's Summerhill Country Park.

Cleveland Fire Brigade said that such incidents blighted the landscape and put people and animals in danger.

A brigade spokesman said the figure was arrived at by multiplying the average cost of small fires - nearly £2,000, as calculated by the government - by the number of incidents.

He added that the money would otherwise have been spent on preventative work, such as educational programmes and home safety visits, including the fitting of free smoke alarms.

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