Warnings over Bonfire Night arson attacks

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Bonfire. Pic © Wikimedia Creative Commons

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has issued advice to prevent arson attacks ahead of Bonfire Night.

Local residents are being advised to stay vigilant as wheelie bins that are left out for prolonged periods of time are at an increased risk of being targeted.

Items left outside for council collection, such as beds, couches and furniture can also be seen as a potential hazard.

More than 30 fires involving refuse containers across Knowsley, St Helens, Liverpool and the Wirral have already been reported in the past month.

Arson attacks on wheelie bins have increased in the last five years, with 74 incidents occurring last year – almost double the number in 2014 when 41 were recorded.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service also warns that attacks of this nature can impact the response times for other emergencies after firefighters were attacked with fireworks this week following two separate wheelie bin attacks in Kirkby and Anfield.

YouTube: Merseyfire

Bootle Station Manager Lauren Woodward expressed her concern for the safety of their staff. She told JMU Journalism: “Last year over the entire bonfire period, MFRS staff came under nine attacks, so far this period staff have come under attack four times.

“This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. Attacks on our firefighters are not fun, they have serious consequences. People need to remember that firefighters and fire service staff are human beings – behind the uniform they are someone’s mum, dad, son, daughter, brother or sister.”

Ms. Woodward also addressed the concerns regarding arson attacks, saying: “Wheelie bins are an easy target for deliberate fires at this time of year.

“It’s extremely important that members of the public make sure their wheelie bins are out of sight, in a safe and secure location away from doors, windows and fences. The safest way for people to enjoy bonfire period is to attend an organised display. Bonfires are only allowed on private land with the owners permission and must be supervised by an adult at all times.”

For fire safety advice call Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service on 0800 731 5958.

About Sol Murphy, JMU Journalism