Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) are warning people that deliberately lighting fires could result in police taking action, following a series of arsons in and around Rushden.
Throughout May, Northamptonshire firefighters have responded to 17 deliberately lit fires in Rushden with repeat fires on the High Street, on John Clark Way and around Jubilee Park. Other locations hit with this antisocial behaviour include, Green Lane, Washbrook Road, Duck Street and Oakley Road.
Intentional fire setting is a criminal offence which is not only dangerous and could put lives at risk, but also costs money, pollutes the environment and will impact the community. These incidents can also put additional pressure on firefighters when there are other serious incidents in the county.
Following the spate of arsons in Rushden, Northamptonshire Police will be patrolling these hotspot areas of Rushden to try and deter any criminal activity being undertaken, particularly during this half term week.
Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Miriam Kiernan said: “Setting fires is often seen as just low-level anti-social behaviour, when in reality, it is very difficult to control a fire and it can quickly get out of control.
“The consequences can be very serious. There is not only the potential for the fire spreading and causing extensive damage to property, but it also puts lives at risk and carries the possibility of a criminal record.
“Our neighbourhood policing team will be more visible in Rushden over the coming days, and we urge residents to speak with our officers if you have any evidence or information that will assist in our enquiries and help us to catch those people responsible.
“We would also encourage parents and carers to speak to their children about the dangers of deliberately starting fires and the serious consequences it can have not only on the individuals whose property is damaged but on their own lives too.”
Firefighters, along with the joint police and fire Arson Task Force will also be available over the next few evenings near Jubilee Park and High Street talking to residents and providing advice and information about the consequences of deliberately lit fires and what to do should anyone have information.
Andy Evans, Arson Reduction Officer for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Attending deliberately lit fires affects our ability to respond to other serious or life-threatening incidents such as house fires or road traffic collisions and as such potentially put lives at risk.
“Over this bank holiday weekend alone we attended five deliberately lit fires in Rushden, as well as incidents elsewhere in the county.
“Alongside crews, we work hard to educate people, particularly young people, about the consequences that arson could have on individuals committing this crime and the wider community. This is a serious and high-risk offence that must stop now.”
Anybody with information about deliberately lit fires should contact FireStoppers. Reporting through this channel is anonymous and is managed by the independent charity CrimeStoppers.
All reports of arson passed to Firestoppers will be investigated.
Call 0800 169 5558, or complete the online form at www.firestoppersreport.co.uk if you have any information about deliberate firesetting.
If an incident requires an emergency response, please call 999.