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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Emergency Services Message to Deliberate Grass Fire Culprits

17/05/2011

A combination of careless behaviour and deliberate vandalism are being blamed by the emergency services in Staffordshire for causing many of the grass fires across the county during the recent dry weather.

"What people need to realise is that each time we attend a grass fire incident – the majority of which are started deliberately or by thoughtless behaviour – this affects our ability to respond to emergency calls where people’s property and even their lives might be at risk."

Head of Safer Communities, Julian Hilditch

In April Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s resources were stretched to the limit responding to over 400 grass fire incidents. In early April, firefighters were called to 14 deliberate fires in just a single six-hour period in Stoke-on-Trent.

Head of Safer Communities, Julian Hilditch said: "What people need to realise is that each time we attend a grass fire incident – the majority of which are started deliberately or by thoughtless behaviour – this affects our ability to respond to emergency calls where people’s property and even their lives might be at risk."

"Deliberate fires are unacceptable in any form. What the people who start deliberate grass fires need to realise is that what they are doing is not harmless fun – it is a serious crime and we do everything in our power to help catch those responsible."

Superintendent Mark Riley from Staffordshire Police added: "Staffordshire Police treats all incidents of arson very seriously – including grass fires that have been started deliberately.

"Such fires not only put people and property at risk, they also divert essential emergency services from other members of the public who require help. Messing around with fire could cost yours or someone else’s life and result in prosecution and a potential prison sentence."

Anyone with information on people responsible for deliberately starting grass fires should contact Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.