Police warning after series of arson attacks in Cinderford, Forest of Dean
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Police have warned they are cracking down on anti-social behaviour in Cinderford after a series of arson attacks in the town.
Officers had already warned children and parents earlier this year of the dangers in starting fires after a series of suspected attacks in June.
Now they have warned young people they will be arrested if they are suspected of being involved in lighting the fires.
There will also be regular patrols of the area and stop searches where grounds allow.
The number of reports involving arson incidents in Cinderford since January is 51, up from 16 last year. Many are taking place in the Valley Road and Englehart estate areas.
Sergeant Nick Wheeler, of the Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "This type of anti-social behaviour is unacceptable. These children are putting not just their own lives at risk, but also other members of the public, not to mention the devastating impact that fires can have on the environment.
"We are taking these incidents very seriously and will be dealing with anybody caught deliberately starting a fire to the full extent of the law.
"We would ask all parents to keep an eye on children and to teach them about the dangers."
Donna Potts, prevention manager at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Setting fires is not only anti-social but also extremely dangerous. Fire is unpredictable and can get out control very quickly, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage, with potentially life-changing consequences.
"If anybody suspects a young person of setting fires in the community, they can refer that young person to our Firesetter Intervention programme, a youth engagement programme which aims to change behaviour through knowledge and education."
Anyone who comes across a fire in a public place or who witnesses someone starting a fire deliberately is asked to dial 999 immediately.
The Firesetter Intervention Programme is not a punishment and should not be viewed as such. The objective is to achieve a fire safe person and environment by working with children and their carers to address the fire play or firesetting behaviour. More details can be found on the SkillZONE website https://www.skillzone.glosfire.gov.uk