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Ipswich: Arsonists who have deliberately set nearly 80 fires in recent weeks are being warned their actions could have fatal consequences

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 August 2014

Archant

Your actions could kill. That was the message from police and firefighters today as patrols continue to be stepped up in south west Ipswich in a bid to deter arsonists who have struck nearly 80 times in just four months.

Many of the blazes have been to wheelie bins, fences and hedges, but there have also been incidents involving cars and homes reported to the fire service.

According to new figures, there have been a total of 77 deliberate fires in south west Ipswich since April. There have been 18 arson incidents involving outdoor fires since June last year.

A Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman has urged firebugs to think about the consequences of their actions and stressed that work is taking place to find those responsible.

The spokeswoman added: “We continue to work with our colleagues at Suffolk police to apprehend the culprits as we have seen an increasing trend of fires being deliberately set in certain areas of Suffolk.

“Our firefighters are putting themselves at risk every time they attend an incident such as this and these individuals are also risking harm to themselves as fires can escalate and get out of control very quickly.

“The fires could easily have spread to nearby properties which could lead to injuries or loss of life.

“While attending this type of fire our crews are unable to respond to other life-threatening emergencies, in which case fire appliances from further away would have to be sent which would inevitably lead to delays.”

There were a series of arson incidents reported in the area last month, in streets including Ellenbrook Road, Fountains Road, Brookview, Annbrook Road and Chantry Green. The majority of these involved hedges and bins, but some had spread.

Police and firefighters were also called following an alleged arson incident at a flat in Birkfield Drive on July 28.

Inspector Roger Salmon, of the Ipswich South West Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Since June 2013 there have been around 18 reported incidents of arson in south-west Ipswich. Whilst many of these incidents involved damage to trees, hedges or wheelie bins, any of them could have resulted in more serious consequences had the fires spread to a nearby property.

“I want to reassure residents that we are investigating these incidents seriously and have increased the amount of high-visibility and specialist patrols in the area.”

The fire service has also issued advice for people to avoid becoming victims of arson.

These include keeping your garden clear of rubbish and overhanging vegetation, storing bins behind a locked gate in the back garden, making sure you have at least one working smoke alarm on each floor and ensure you have a fire plan in place.

Police and the fire service are working together with the aim of tackling the problem.

If you can help police with their investigations, call 101. If you witness anyone acting suspiciously call 999 immediately.

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