Police are reminding residents across North Tyneside and Northumberland to keep their wheelie bin safe from vandals in the run-up to Bonfire Night.
The reminder forms part of the 2015 Darker Nights campaign - aimed at making people feel safer as the nights draw in and evenings become darker particularly in the run-up to Bonfire Night. Wheelie bins often become an easy target for vandals who set them on fire, use the contents to start a fire or even steal them.
Officers are urging residents to only put their bin out the night before collection - or if possible not until the morning of collection - and to bring it in as soon as it has been emptied or ask a neighbour to take it in.
Northern Area Command Communities Chief Inspector Nicola Musgrove said: "One of the main issues we have around this time of year is wheelie bins being set on fire or stolen after being left out in the street, by simply taking them in and storing them somewhere safe could potentially help prevent this from happening."
In the run-up to Bonfire Night, officers, supported by Volunteer Police Cadets and Special Constables, will be delivering leaflets to residents to remind them not to leave their bin out. Extra patrols will also be carried out targeting those involved in anti-social behaviour and damaging wheelie bins.
Ch Insp Musgrove added: "We will target vandals damaging wheelie bins - setting a bin on fire is criminal damage and we will take the appropriate action against those who are involved. Over the coming weeks, we will also be working with Tyne and Wear Fire Service and the two local authorities to distribute leaflets to residents in Northern Area Command with advice on how to avoid falling victim to this type of vandalism."
Coun John Stirling, cabinet member for environment at North Tyneside Council, said: “The Darker Nights campaign is such an important initiative and one that we’re pleased to be supporting again. The safety of our residents is of upmost importance and the campaign helps to do this, as well as reduce any fears of crime and improve our neighbourhoods.
“Over the last month, our wardens have already been working with our partners in known hotspot areas to remind people to take their wheelie bins back in after they’ve been emptied, and we will continue this work during this time of year.”