Operation targeting youngsters commiting fires in Warrington

Park fireYoungsters committing deliberate fires in Warrington have been the focus of a joint operation.

Firefighters from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and officers from Warrington Local Policing Unit and increased patrols following a rise in deliberate fires and anti-social behaviour.

The operation has taken place in Orford, Poplars and Hulme and Poulton North at local parks and nearby streets.

Since 27 January and 2 March officers identified 10 children believed to be involved with a number of arson offences.

At least seven people were stopped and searched with some found to have cocaine in their possession, with several seizures of cigarettes and alcohol from youths.

Meanwhile a 16-year-old boy was also arrested for being in possession of an offensive weapon in Orford Park. 

As part of the operation firefighters engaged with the public and provided residents with information about the dangers of deliberately starting a fire.

Station Manager Neil Winstanley, from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The operation is proving to be a huge success. Already several individuals have been identified which gives us an opportunity to engage with them to provide information on consequences for their behaviour.

“We will continue to work closely with the police to tackle these issues. This will reduce calls to attend small nuisance incidents and ensure our resources will be ready more often for genuine emergencies.

“Our overarching objective remains to work with our local partner services and agencies to provide a safer community and these operations go a long way to achieving this.”

Sergeant Lee Hillyard, from Warrington Local Policing Unit, said: “A dedicated team has been involved in the operation to identify those involved and reduce anti-social behaviour.

“Over the past few weeks we have worked with firefighters to patrol parks and streets which have been a target for youths. We have also engaged with the local community and youth groups to provide reassurance and gather information.

“This has resulted in a number of positive outcomes with youngsters being identified, drugs seized and an arrest made.

“I want to reassure residents that the operation will continue and patrols will take place during the week and at weekends.

“To help reduce these offences I would encourage parents to know the whereabouts of their children and for the community to keep reporting anti-social behaviour or any suspicious activity.

"My neighbourhood officers also hold regular weekly drop in surgeries which anyone can attend."

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Park fire