Police and Fire Service working together to solve arson incidents in Cheltenham
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Gloucestershire Constabulary is continuing to work with partner agencies to tackle a rise in incidents of arson in Cheltenham.
A number of incidents of arson have taken place in the Warden Hill, Hatherley and Oakley areas over recent months and officers are working to identify those involved.
The Cheltenham Neighbourhood Policing Team is investigating alongside Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) and would like to appeal for anyone with information to please come forward.
Local officers have been taking part in regular patrols in the areas with deployable CCTV cameras and it is now believed that the fires may have been started by youths as part of social media trends.
It is believed that teenagers using the apps TikTok and Snapchat may be starting the fires to post content on their accounts and to see who can light the biggest fire.
Acting Inspector Steve Benbow of the Cheltenham Neighbourhood Policing team said: "We are continuing to work with our partner agency colleagues to find those responsible for the fires but now believe that social media trends may be the catalysts for them.
"We are asking parents to please talk to their teenagers about the dangers of starting fires and to be alert if they come home smelling like they have been to a bonfire.
"My team are regularly liaising with colleagues from GFRS, local Councillors and Neighbourhood Watch so that we can keep everyone safe."
Anyone who has concerns over anything they see being an imminent risk is asked to please call police on 999 so that officers can attend straight away.
This can be done by calling 101 or completing the following online form: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/a/your-area/local-policing-team-contact/contact-your-local-policing-team.
Information can also be submitted anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visiting https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/
Kev Adcock, Local Risk Manager at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service said: "These deliberate fires are an unnecessary distraction for the Fire Service and could mean that lives could be lost or property damaged by delaying our response to more serious incidents.
"I would ask anyone with any information to use the contact details supplied to help us stop these irresponsible actions."