Arson awareness plea from fire chiefs

RESIDENTS in Sidmouth and Ottery areas have been urged to be wary of arson attacks.

Fire service chiefs say deliberately lit blazes can start as a prank, but could have serious consequences for victims and offenders.

Public toilets were set alight in Sidmouth last month, in a pair of separate incidents.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service bosses say the authority, and police, take arson attacks very seriously – as do the courts and judicial system.

Deputy chief fire officer, Neil Gibbins, said: “These fires are started by individuals who show no concern or respect for public safety or property.

“The fire service has a policy of investigating every fire, and our specialist fire investigation officers are well trained and work diligently with the police to examine the cause. We will endeavour to prosecute anyone who commits arson.”

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Devon’s population increases by around 25 per cent at the height of the holiday season, and fire service bosses have reminded business owners they have a legal responsibility to lessen the risks of a deliberate fire – by being vigilant and using good management of their premises to reduce the risk of a blaze.

If anyone has any information about a fire, no matter how big or small, in their area, they are urged to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Callers can give details anonymously.