Arson accounts for 71% of fires across the Cleveland area and last year cost tax payers a massive £42m. This is even though incidents have dropped by 30% in the last year, from 2,931 to 2,088.

To combat this continuing cost, Cleveland Fire Brigade are launching a new campaign on Monday March 25th - ‘Stop Arson – Enough is Enough.’ The launch is at High Clarence Primary School, Port Clarence, which a year ago was impacted by a major fire at the neighbouring Jigsaw wood recycling plant. The deliberate attack took firefighters nine days to extinguish at a cost of nearly £750,000.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection with Cleveland Fire Brigade said that while it is encouraging incidents are reducing, the battle against arson continues. He added “…arson ruins lives, devastates communities and can destroy businesses. Deliberate lighting of any fires will not and should not be tolerated by anyone and we have this other message - we are watching you and you will be caught.”

Jean Orridge, Headteacher of High Clarence Primary School, said the school maintains good links with the Fire Brigade and Police which have been strengthened by the arson attack. She added: “Many of the children were frightened by seeing the fire so close to their homes and the school, and it was important that the community worked together to help the children feel safe again.”

She believes supporting the campaign will help educate more children on how to keep their communities safe from arson.

Cleveland Fire Brigade will be working with Police and patrols will be stepped up as nights become lighter. They are also appealing to communities to play their part in combatting arson, and anyone can ring the Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The campaign will be supported by posters, leaflets and activities for schools, along with a video that shows the devastation arson can cause.

Posted by Mary Stevens 22/03/13