Fall in arson attack cases

Firefighters at Fylde Farm near Poulton, a target for arson attacks.
Firefighters at Fylde Farm near Poulton, a target for arson attacks.
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THE number of fires being started deliberately in Lancashire has fallen.

Figures just released for 2011/12 show the number of arson attacks on buildings and property in the county has dropped by 114 or 14 per cent - compared to nine per cent nationally.

Deliberate vehicle fires have seen a reduction of 63, which is a drop of 20 per cent.

Fires involving rubbish and undergrowth being set alight on purpose have also dropped by a fifth with 854 fewer such incidents recorded in Lancashire last year.

Firefighters said education programmes and working in partnership with local authorities to keep streets clear of rubbish have helped in the fight against arson.

Dave Russell, assistant chief fire officer for Lancashire, said: “We have had support from councils, including Blackpool. By cleaning up open spaces and keeping them rubbish free, this makes it less likely a fire will be started.

“We do a lot of work with young people including talks in schools and they react positively to that and even set an example for the adults at home. There is also a determination to pursue arsonists with prosecutions so working with the police, we make every effort to track people down.”

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member with responsibility for street cleaning, who is also a member of the Lancashire Fire Authority, said: “When fire officers go on home safety visits, they observe an accumulation of rubbish, and work in partnership with the council by notifying us of its presence.

“If we can prevent fires happening that is more beneficial than waiting for a fire to happen.”

The Fylde Farm site between Normoss and Highcross has been a magnet for arsonists since former school buildings on the land became derelict.

There have been around 10 arson attacks in recent years, including two within an hour of each other on the same day in July of this year.

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