BarkingParents are being urged to help Cleveland Fire Brigade make it a Happy Easter for everyone by continuing the drive to reduce deliberate fires.

It comes after figures for the same holiday break last year showed a 61% decrease on 2015.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We want to continue this welcome downturn and once again we ask parents to make sure they know what their children are doing and make sure they are staying out of trouble.

“This is the first big school break of the year and the longer days and warmer weather means more young people are outside and for some this results in irresponsible behaviour.

“Make no mistake, deliberate firesettting is a blight on the whole community. Buildings, wheelie bins, rubbish and grasslands have all been targeted in recent years. This can cause serious damage and divert our resources away from real emergencies.

“We will not tolerate arson and we are working closely with the police and immediate action will be taken against anyone involved in deliberately starting a fire. We want everyone to enjoy the Easter break but ask them to be responsible.”

During Easter 2016 there were 101 deliberate fires, a 61% decrease on the previous year when they were 256 incidents.

For Easter 2016 (March 25 to April 11) there were 38 incidents in Redcar and Cleveland, 28 in Middlesbrough, 18 in Stockton and 17 in Hartlepool.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Downes, from Cleveland Police, said: “Offences of arson will not be tolerated. Arsonists take risks that could leave someone seriously injured or potentially kill someone. Anyone who commits such offences will feel the full force of the law.”