Shocking rise in arson in run-up to Bonfire Night across Northumberland as hard-hitting Darker Nights campaign launched
and live on Freeview channel 276
New figures show the rate rocketed by 62% in the two weeks from October 25 to November 7 compared to the previous fortnight.
The shocking statistics have been released as emergency services across the region join forces to launch a new campaign urging people not to take risks with fire as the nights draw in.
The campaign focuses particularly on the extreme consequences that could befall anybody who starts fires and is accompanied by stark images showing a young man struggling to do the things that he loves best – playing on his computer console and mobile phone – with horrifically burnt hands..
The pictures will feature on posters across the streets of Tyne and Wear and Northumberland in the coming weeks, with the messages ‘Starting fires isn’t a game’ and ‘Don’t set fire to your selfie’.
TWFRS firefighters and officers from their Prevention and Education team have already been attending schools across the region delivering Darker Nights assemblies containing essential fire safety messages.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service chief fire officer Paul Hedley said: “As the nights get darker and we approach Bonfire Night it is vital residents, and in particular young people, think about the risks that fireworks and deliberate fires pose.
“Organised displays, of which there are many around the region, are a much more impressive and safer option compared to doing something in your own back garden.
“It’s also important to remember that while it’s fun for some, fireworks can be a real source of stress and misery for others, particularly those who are elderly, vulnerable or have pets.
“As we work with our colleagues this autumn we would always stress the need to be considerate to others.”
Northumbria Police Chief Inspector Nicola Walker said the force took anti-social behaviour seriously: “As ever, we will be working closely with our partners to positively address any issues or pockets of disorder.
“Anybody who is concerned about anti-social behaviour in their area, or is aware of any criminality, is asked to report it to us by speaking to an officer on patrol, via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of our website or calling 101.”
Stu Holliday, NEAS Head of Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response, added: “There are few more devastating medical emergencies than those caused by fire, and such injuries cause extreme pain, prolonged rehabilitation and often loss of previous mobility, as well as the potential for permanent scarring.
“We want everyone to stay safe this season so they will hopefully not need services.”
If you have any important information about deliberate fires being started in your local community – you can report the details anonymously by calling Firestoppers on 0800 169 5558 or by reporting it through their website www.firestoppersreport.co.uk