Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has expressed its disgust at the number of serious arson attacks carried out in the past year.
“Arson is a criminal act and we take a zero tolerance approach to it. Working alongside the police we do everything in our power to help catch those responsible.”
Director of Prevent and Protect, Dean Stevens.
Over 200 fires were deliberately started in commercial buildings and homes between April 2011 and March 2012.
The figures are released just a week after a leading storyline in the soap Coronation Street saw Terry Duckworth planning an arson attack on a building in order to claim on the insurance.
Director of Prevent and Protect, Dean Stevens said: “Quite simply people who commit arson are putting lives at risk – their own lives, the lives of members of the public and the lives of our firefighters who are sent to tackle the incidents. It’s not just the arson attack itself; our crews can’t be in two places at once, so whilst they are dealing with a deliberate fire there could be someone trapped in a car or a building in urgent need of our help somewhere else.
“Arson is not just an issue for us; it is costing the people of Staffordshire millions of pounds. There is a cost associated with tackling the fire; there is a massive impact on the environment, the local community and of course the business itself, including its staff, suppliers and retailers. This is a very serious crime that not only has a significant cost to our economy, but also can have a devastating consequence on human life.”
The Service is warning potential arsonists that no matter how much they try and cover their tracks a thorough investigation will determine if a fire was deliberately started.
Dean Stevens continued: “Arson is a criminal act and we take a zero tolerance approach to it. Working alongside the police we do everything in our power to help catch those responsible.”
Assistant Chief Constable Julian Blazeby, from Staffordshire Police, said: "Arson is a very serious crime which can have horrendous results, including serious injury, serious damage and, sadly, sometimes loss of life.
"We work closely with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to deal with and prevent such offences and will always investigate arson attacks thoroughly. We will arrest those committing these serious offences and bring them to justice where appropriate. As well as the potential devastation arson can cause, people who deliberately start fires could face significant jail sentences.
"Anyone with information about such crime should ring us on 101. Alternatively, they can ring independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111."
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has a business support service that can offer businesses advice on how to reduce the risk of a fire affecting their premises. For more information contact 01785 898916 or visit the dedicated business section on the Service’s website: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk.