Warning over arson danger

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FIREFIGHTERS are calling for parents and guardians to talk to young people about the dangers of arson during the summer holidays.

Each year, firefighters at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service experience a rise in deliberate fires during the months of June, July, August and September – particularly when the weather is warm as experienced recently.

In July last year there were 107 incidents of arson in Cambridgeshire attended by the fire service, in August there were 84 and in September, 73.

Martin Boome, Arson Liaison Officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “The Service realise that these figures are not caused entirely by young people, however, there is more scope for young people to commit these crimes during the summer, when boredom rates are at an all time high.

“There is also the potential for peer pressure to play a part in a young person starting a fire deliberately, particularly when they join a new school in September.

“With this in mind, the fire service is encouraging parents and guardians to sit down with their children and explain the dangers and implications of making hoax calls and starting fires deliberately.”

If parents have particular concerns about the behaviour of their children, the Fire Service operates a FireSetter Intervention Scheme which involves fire service staff visiting children who play with or have a fascination with fire. This is always with the permission of the parent or guardian and the visit takes place in the child’s own home. This is a free service, last year (April 2010 – March 2011), the Service visited 35 young people in Cambridgeshire.

FACTS ON ARSON

What will happen if you are convicted of arson?

You could face life imprisonment.

Arson is a criminal conviction that will stay on your record for the rest of your life.

It will affect your career.

It will prevent you from entering some countries (such as America).

Other things for arsonists to think about

Fire is unpredictable and moves very quickly. You, and anyone with you, could easily get trapped in a burning building.

You could badly injure yourself with accelerants, such as petrol.

If a fire you started killed someone – even if you didn’t mean for that death to happen – you will be both legally and emotional responsible for it for the rest of your life.

To request a visit by the FireSetter team, contact the service on 01480-444500, or log onto www.cambsfire.gov.uk