Firefighters aim to tackle anti-social behaviour following spike in Hetton-le-Hole

Firefighters are delivering a targeted initiative in Hetton-le-Hole to tackle anti-social behaviour and deliberate fires in the area.

Three days of activity is taking place from Monday 4 March until Wednesday 6 to raise awareness of the dangers of anti-social behaviour and how local residents can stop their wheelie bins becoming targets of arson.

TWFRS Area Manager – Community Safety, Lynsey McVey said: “Not only do deliberate fires present huge risks to the perpetrators, cause damage to local properties and the environment, they also present a challenge to us. If we are attending deliberate fires, we are unavailable to attend other fires or emergencies.

“Parents can’t always know where there children are, but they can talk to them about the risks – risks that could leave them scarred for life or end up with a criminal record. Deliberately starting fires can quickly turn into something very serious.”

Firefighter councillor and PCSO stand next to a wheelie bin

Firefighters will be joined by Northumbria Police to speak to residents in Langdale Street and the surrounding streets in Hetton-le-Hole following a spike of anti-social behaviour in the area.

Station Manager Kevin Burns said: “Recently there have been incidents where groups of young people have been taking wheelie bins and setting them on fire in the nearby underpass and when crews have arrived to put out the fires they’ve been attacked by bricks, bottles and other missiles. This behaviour is not only reckless but dangerous too.

“We’ll be carrying out Home Safety Checks with local residents, speaking to them about ways to reduce arson attacks on their wheelie bins, dropping off leaflets, and carrying out a litter pick to reduce waste that can be a target for anti-social behaviour. We will also be on a walkabout of the estate with Northumbria Police and local councillors to discuss areas most frequently targeted.”

Inspector Nick Gjorven of Northumbria Police, said: “We are committed to taking a firm approach to help reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour and ensure our residents and businesses feel safe.

“That is made possible by working closely with partners, and this is an example of the work we are doing alongside other organisations to tackle fire-related anti-social behaviour.

“Communities should not have to put up with the anti-social behaviour of a few individuals, and we understand that the actions of a minority can have a significant effect on those living and working in the area.

“By working together with the public and our partners, we can tackle this problem effectively. We would urge anybody who has any concerns to speak to us.”