Stamping out deliberate fires in South Tyneside communities

Fire Brigade chiefs have highlighted tackling fly-tipping and getting into schools to educate young people as key ways to tackle arson in South Tyneside after a spike in incidents over the summer.

Jarrow and Boldon Community Area Forum (CAF) heard there were 58 deliberate secondary fires, incidents involving the likes of grassland and rubbish, recorded between June and August.
Jarrow and Boldon Community Area Forum (CAF) heard there were 58 deliberate secondary fires, incidents involving the likes of grassland and rubbish, recorded between June and August.

It comes after the latest meeting of Jarrow and Boldon Community Area Forum (CAF) heard there were 58 deliberate secondary fires, incidents involving the likes of grassland and rubbish, recorded between June and August.

This was a jump from the 28 incidents logged in the CAF area across the same period last year, with July seeing a “massive rise” from 5 to 29, according to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service representatives.

Steven Bewick, station manager in South Tyneside, said they are working with partners including the council to tackle issues such as fly-tipping to help reduce incidents by removing the materials often targeted.

He said: “Members of the community are requested to consider timely disposal of household and garden waste in order to reduce risk of having deliberate fires set in the vicinity of their homes.

“We encourage community engagement to report illegal dumped rubbish and fly-tipping via the council’s website.

“Prevention and education staff continue to liaise with partners and community wardens to discuss issues at weekly task groups.”

He added Boldon Colliery was a particular hot spot for incidents during the period, with 33 fires occurring during the three months, 21 of them being in July.

The meeting, held at Jarrow Town Hall on Thursday, September 8, heard the majority of those were grassland fires with “a lot attributed to the warm weather”.

Elsewhere there were 14 incidents in the Primrose area, eight in Bede and three in the Fellgate and Hedworth ward over the period.

As attention turns to darker evenings and Bonfire Night in the coming months, fire brigade staff will also be looking to go into schools to educate young people about the dangers of deliberately starting blazes.

Station manager Bewick added: “We’re going to try and work with schools and do a 45 minute session where we can talk to the students about antisocial behaviour and deliberate fire setting.

“We’re going to the hot spot areas where they are and we’re going to target schools there.”