Crackdown on deliberate fires 


An initiative aimed at reducing the number of deliberate small fires in Great Lever is about to begin.

Great Lever has been identified as having the third highest number of incidences of deliberate small fires in Greater Manchester. Between April 2010 and February 2011, there were 145 incidents in the area, according to Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue statistics.

Deliberate small fires – also known as ‘secondary fires’ can be in varied locations including fires started in rubbish left next to cars; on grass; in derelict buildings; as well as fires in skips and other receptacles such as bins and oil drums.

So from March 21, for one week, Bolton Council and some of its partners including Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire Service are planning a 'Beatsweep'; or series of education and enforcement activities in the area to combat these secondary fires.

The council, supported by the police will be focusing on targeted education and enforcement of those residents who disregard the rules around bringing in wheelie bins after collection, which can lead to some of the secondary fires.

Meanwhile the Fire Service will be visiting householders in the area and offering free practical fire advice, including risk assessments.

Councillor Sufrana Bashir-Ismail, Bolton Council Executive Member for Cleaner, Greener, Safer said: “Unfortunately Great Lever has a very high number of secondary fires, so it is important that we take action to reduce this number. All residents should think about the dangers of leaving rubbish lying about and how this could put people’s safety at risk. We’d also like to encourage them to bring in their bins and not to leave rubbish adjacent to the bins which could be set on fire.

“In terms of enforcement, we will only be targeting persistent offenders and we want to emphasise we will be going through a series of stages, including education and warning, before any fines are issued. We hope that this type of education and enforcement will encourage positive action by local people.”

Fire Service Borough Manager for Bolton, Ian Bailey, added: “Deliberate small fires are a nuisance and can have tragic consequences. This area remains our most problematic locally and we are happy to take part in this initiative aimed at trying to reduce the number of fires.”

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Joanne Cooke
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