Let’s stop fire thugs

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BLOW the whistle on fire thugs who are putting lives, property and wildlife at risk.

That’s the plea from Milngavie’s top firefighter as the risk of deliberate fires increases during the summer.

Dry grass and heath land, fly-tipped waste, overflowing refuse skips and bins, and derelict buildings are potential targets for blaze vandals.

Milngavie Fire Station commander Steven Harper said: “Deliberate fires account for more than 60 per cent of all emergency fire attendances at this time of year.

“High levels of fire-setting are indicators that low-level crime, vandalism and anti- social behaviour are going unchallenged within many rural areas.

“We are requesting assistance from the public, neighbourhood wardens, environmental teams and housing providers to tackle the problem.”

The fire service is keen to highlight the success of prevention measures including the demolition of blaze-hit derelict properties and more effective targeting of fly- tipping hotspots and illegally-dumped business waste.

However, Commander Harper added: “At this time of year fires can quickly get out of control putting properties, wildlife and people at risk.

“Tourists, campers and hill walkers, farmers and land owners are asked to be aware of the severe risk of fire in the countryside due to negligence or carelessness.

“Fire-setting causes injury, damages property and the large volumes of smoke produced is extremely harmful to people and the environment.

“So the message to communities and neighbourhoods most affected by fire vandalism is simple, fire setting is an offence, don’t accept it, report it.”

Schools are at particular risk from vandalism, and local ‘school watch’ initiatives can substantially reduce the cost of damage caused by fire, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.