Warning to homes and business after arson attacks in Fenland top 80 since April

HOUSEHOLDS and businesses in Fenland are being urged to protect their community against arson after fire fighters have been called out to 80 deliberate fires since April 1 this year. Fenland s figures since April 1, 2009: • 23 Deliberate Primary (B

HOUSEHOLDS and businesses in Fenland are being urged to protect their community against arson after fire fighters have been called out to 80 deliberate fires since April 1 this year.

Fenland's figures since April 1, 2009:

• 23 Deliberate Primary (Buildings)

• 12 Deliberate Vehicles


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*• 45 Deliberate secondary (Rubbish)

Using figures supplied by the Government this equates to a cost to those in Fenland of �576,825 (�510,000 for Primary fires and �66,825 for Secondary.) This takes into account all ongoing costs, not just the costs to Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

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Matt Murdoch, Risk Manager for Fenland, said: "Arson can be defined as the wilful or deliberate setting fire to another's house, car or other property. Arson is the largest single cause of major fires in the UK.

"At its worst, arson leads to loss of life and significant financial damage but persistent and pervasive minor arson also sets a strongly detrimental, and visually harmful, tone to deprived communities."

He added: "Arson is a complex and serious crime and carries a maximum punishment of a life sentence. It has a wide variety of causes: vandalism; playing with fire; crime concealment; revenge; fraud; and mental illness to name just a few.

"Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service work individually and in conjunction with other agencies within the Safer Fenland Partnership with the aim of reducing the rate of arson in Fenland."

Mr Murdoch said: "Arson is a serious crime which can have potentially fatal consequences.

"We are doing all we can to stop this crime and we have had some success. Thanks to sophisticated fire fighting techniques and successful evidence gathering by both the fire service and police, we have recently seen convictions in the courts for the offenders of a number of arsons in the city and we currently have a number of cases going through the judicial system now.

"The Fire Service cannot tackle the problem of arson by itself. Arson is a multi-agency issue and the Service is working with a number of different agencies, such as the Police and Fenland District Council to find ways of preventing arson in the first place and also to make sure that those who commit arson are prosecuted.

"Cambridgeshire has the highest rate of prosecutions for arson in the whole of the UK and the number of arsons has reduced considerably over the last five years, so we are making progress.

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