Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has experienced a spate of deliberate small fires in the Swindon area over recent weeks.

Seventeen such fires, including fences, rubbish, bins and grassland, have been dealt with by crews from Swindon, Stratton and Westlea since 17 April.

Station Manager Greg Izon said: “When fire crews are sent to deal with deliberate small fires, it means they are unavailable for other incidents, such as bigger fires or road traffic collisions. People need to remember that deliberately starting fires is a criminal offence, and even the smallest fire can spread to something far more serious. We have seen numerous cases over the years where a small fire in a bin, for example, has led to an entire building being destroyed.”

He added: “We work with partners, including the Police and the local authorities, to tackle arson in areas where a particular problem has been identified, but we also need local people to be aware of what is happening in their area and to report it as appropriate.”

To reduce the risk of your property being affected by arson, you should:

  • Only put your wheelie bin to the front of your property on the morning of collection. Store it out of sight the rest of the time.
  • Don’t overfill your wheelie bin and make sure the lid will close.
  • Store rubbish away from any building, while keeping it within the boundaries of your property.
  • Make sure your doors, windows, gates, walls and fences are effectively secured, especially at night and if you’re away from the property.
  • Park vehicles in a well-lit place and off the road where possible. Always keep your car locked.

If you know of someone who sets fires deliberately, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.