An eye-catching campaign which highlighted arson hotspots in Tamworth has seen the number of small fires plummet by 75 per cent.
"We used the eye-catching stencils to attract the attention of local residents and to clearly demonstrate the hotspots for small, deliberate fires. The initiative has had a really positive impact with the number of grass and bin blazes in Glascote and Stoneydelph seeing a dramatic decrease of 75 per cent."
Tom Osborne - Community Safety Officer for Tamworth
Community Safety Officers and volunteers used a specially designed ‘Flames Aren’t Games’ stencil to earmark areas in Glascote and Stoneydelph that have historically been targeted by fire-setters.
They covered the cut-out with spray paint so that residents could clearly see the extent of the problem in the district and work with the Service to combat the anti-social behaviour.
Local neighbourhoods also received a leaflet telling them about the innovative initiative and calling upon them to support the Service in its efforts to tackle such incidents, which can have potentially life-threatening consequences.
In the six months between April – when the initiative was launched – and September there were just three grass/bin fires in the two areas. This compares to 12 blazes during the same period in 2013.
Community Safety Officer for Tamworth Tom Osborne said: "The ‘Flames Aren’t Games’ stencils were used as part of a pilot project in the town and have proved to be a real success story.
"We used the eye-catching stencils to attract the attention of local residents and to clearly demonstrate the hotspots for small, deliberate fires. The initiative has had a really positive impact with the number of grass and bin blazes in Glascote and Stoneydelph seeing a dramatic decrease of 75 per cent.
"The trial formed part of the wider Flames Aren’t Games campaign which aims to educate young people about the dangers posed by setting fires. The initiative has seen this type of anti-social behaviour decrease significantly with 156 incidents in East Staffordshire between April 1 and August 31 this year, compared to 232 during the same period in 2013. We will be working hard to build upon this success next summer."
Police Community Support Officers and Street Wardens joined forces with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to run the scheme.
The Service was given permission from the county council to carry out the trial which could be rolled out across Staffordshire next year.