A SPECIAL task force has been established to tackle a spate of deliberate fire raising incidents at a local beauty spot in the Lossiemouth area of Moray.
The multi-agency group has been set up by the Moray Community Safety Partnership after 15 fires were deliberately started in the Sunbank Quarry area of the town over the past 16 months.
A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “The task group comprises firefighters, Police officers, Community Wardens, Pitgaveny Estate and Moray Council staff. Members of the group will be engaging with members of the community to raise public awareness of the dangers and consequences of deliberately setting fires, whilst keeping a careful watch on the area.”
Anna Rogers, the Station Manager for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in Moray, said: “Ensuring the safety of the public and protecting property from fire is our main concern. The deliberate setting of fires is an offence and should be reported to the Police or Crimestoppers.”
Inspector Colin Mowat of Police Scotland said: “Fireraising is a serious matter, with potentially serious consequences. It goes without saying that such an act constitutes a criminal offence and will be dealt as such by the authorities.
“The consequences of being responsible for this sort of behaviour range from causing damage and potential injury, to gaining a criminal record. I appeal to parents to ensure they are aware of their children’s activities, and to local communities to remain watchful and be prepared to report knowledge of any such incidents to the Police.”
Andy Jamieson, the Community Safety Lead for Moray Council, explained: “Sunbank Quarry is an area which utilised by locals and visitors as a recreational area but the quarry also supports many forms of wild life. In recent months the area has been subject to many fires with grass and gorse being deliberately set on fire.
“This is not only has a cost implication to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service but can endanger lives. Community Wardens will be patrolling the Sunbank Quarry and working with partners to get across the fire safety message.”
He added: “I would ask the community of Lossiemouth to assist in tackling the problem of deliberate fires by reporting any suspicious activity. The Moray Community Safety Partnership will work with the community of Lossiemouth to stop deliberate fire-setting in Sunbank Quarry.”