Tees

Cleveland Fire Brigade summer arson attacks cost £900,000

Wheelie bin on fire Image copyright Cleveland Fire Brigade
Image caption The fire service wants parents to help prevent summer holiday arson attacks

Arson attacks cost Cleveland Fire Brigade £900,000 during last year's summer holidays, it has said.

From July to September, there were 448 deliberate fires started in the area, a 31% increase on 2014.

There were 152 fires in Middlesbrough, 146 in Redcar and Cleveland, 82 in Stockton and 68 in Hartlepool.

Although fires started in wheelie bins and grasslands are often small, they can cost lives by detracting crews from real emergencies, a spokesman said.

'Irresponsible behaviour'

Over the same summer period, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service recorded 489 incidents in 2014 and 512 in 2015.

In County Durham and Darlington, the fire service saw a 5% reduction with 394 deliberate fires started in 2014 compared to 374 in 2015.

Phil Lancaster, of Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: "The long summer holidays and longer days can sometimes tempt totally irresponsible behaviour that is a blight on the community and can cause serious damage.

"We are urging parents to make sure they know where their youngsters are and to keep them out of trouble.

"Clearing up arson costs thousands of pounds and can take our firefighters away from vital life-saving protection work or attending real emergencies."

In Northumberland, the fire service saw primary fires, which are classed as more serious, fall 22% from nine in 2014, to seven in 2015.

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