County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) and Durham Constabulary, have launched a joint publicity campaign aimed at educating young people about the dangers of deliberately starting a fire.
The campaign, which involves an image of a badly burned teenage boy aims to encourage people to stop and think about the life changing damage that can be caused by getting involved in this kind of criminality.
Posters, with the graphic image of the boy, will be featured on bus stands in the Horden, Shotton Colliery and Easington area as well as on the rear of five fire appliances in the Peterlee area over the coming weeks.
The Assistant District Manager for Easington, Chris Williams said: “We’ve deliberately launched the campaign to coincide with the lighter nights, the time of year when this type of behaviour tends to increase. Our message although hard hitting, is clear, playing with fire is no joke and can have lifelong consequences.
Neighbourhood Inspector for Peterlee, Lee Blakelock said: “We have seen an increase in fires which have been deliberately set in the Peterlee area over the last few months and are very keen as we move into the summer period to stop this behaviour.
“We suspect the reason some of the fires are started is younger people trying to make themselves look good in front of their friends without thinking about the consequences of their actions. Our hope is the campaign will make them stop and think before they get involved in setting off a chain of events that could end in tragedy. “
Anyone with information about this kind of criminality should call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.