A CRACKDOWN on troublemakers in the run-up to Bonfire Night has been launched in a bid to keep residents safe.
Fire, police, council and housing chiefs have teamed up again for the Darker Nights campaign.
The initiative tackles bonfire-related disorder, underage firework sales and criminal damage during the Halloween and November 5 festivities.
Last year, the number of anti-social fires started during the two-week campaign period were slashed by 42 per cent.
Station Manager for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Ian Cuskin, said: “The run-up to Bonfire Night is one of our busiest periods and, sadly, each year people are injured.
“We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time.
“The best way of doing this is by attending a professionally organised display and to report any unauthorised bonfires that have been built to the council.”
Coun Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for area management and safer and stronger communities, said: “By taking a proactive approach with partners and the support of local people, we can help reduce the fear of crime, reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour and make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night.”
The campaign has received the support from Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.
Chief Inspector Michael Barton, from South Tyneside Area Command, said: “This initiative is all about working together to prevent crime and disorder which traditionally occurs at this time of year through a range of tactics.
“This approach has proved successful over the years, with significantly fewer incidents being reported to us. I hope this year’s campaign is no exception.”