Sittingbourne arson statistics prompt warning

Half of all calls attended by Sittingbourne fire crews in the past year have been to fires that were started deliberately.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service said all the arson incidents involved rubbish, cars or grassland.

Sittingbourne station manager Gary Stanford has appealed to people to avoid gathering rubbish and is warning young people of the dangers of fire.

He said such fires could spread, cause widespread damage, and injure or kill.

Genuine emergencies

Mr Stanford added that arson attacks could also lead to crews being diverted from genuine emergencies such as house fires or car crashes.

Residents have been asked to dispose of rubbish carefully and report any incidents of people starting fires.

People have also been urged not to light fires in the countryside or drop litter that could be set alight, store rubbish bins away from buildings, and report abandoned vehicles or fly-tipped waste.

Between 1 September 2009 and 31 August 2010, Sittingbourne fire crews attended 212 fires of which 113 were deliberate and involved refuse, cars or grassland.

KFRS said 47 incidents of those deliberate fires took place between June and August, in the summer months.

Overall figures for arson in 2009/2010 were lower than in 2008/09, when 167 deliberate fires were tackled.

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