The eye watering cost of deliberate wheelie bin fires

Deliberate wheelie bin fires cost the taxpayers more than £90,000 last year – and now the fire service have urged you to not let it be yours this bonfire period.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have today revealed that in the last 12 months, they’ve attended over 3,500 deliberate refuse fires.

From April last year to March, firefighters attended 3,602 incidents of deliberate bin fires across Tyne and Wear, with the majority linked to teenage anti-social behaviour.

That includes 284 fires in the two weeks leading up to Bonfire Night last year – their busiest time of the year.

On Monday (October 24th) TWFRS launched their Darker Nights campaign that will see them step up prevention activity across the region.

As the October half terms gets underway, firefighters are working closely with local authorities and housing associations to put preventative measures in place.

This includes additional bulky waste collections, reminding residents to bring their bin straight in after collection and encouraging them to report deliberate fire setting.

TWFRS have now revealed that these latest figures could have cost the taxpayer as much as £90,000 – with the average replacement bin costing £25.

And today (Tuesday), Group Manager Paul Thompson, Head of Service Delivery West from TWFRS, is calling on the community to be more aware this bonfire period and for parents to work with them to help tackle this behaviour.

Group Manager Thompson said: “This is not a new issue; we are experiencing issues with deliberate bin fires across the Service area.

“We are working closely with police, the local authority and housing providers to address it but we also need the help of parents and carers of young people.

“Some young people may not understand the financial burden this creates for our region, so we need your support to help educate them.

“Many of these bin fires are linked to youth anti-social behaviour and we are concerned that some young people are putting themselves at risk.

“They may consider this to be harmless fun, but it leaves the taxpayer out of pocket, residents with no bin and young people are putting themselves at risk.

“The toxins released by these fires when inhaled can cause serious health problems in the future and often, people are close to the fire meaning they are increasing their risk of getting hurt.

“Residents are encouraged to take steps to secure their bins, perhaps by chaining them together. But please avoid chaining your bin to your home as this could put your home at risk if the bins are set alight.”

Anyone who knows those responsible for deliberate fires in their areas can report it to the police through the Tell Us Something pages of their website.

You can also report information anonymously by calling FireStoppers on 0800 169 5558.