TWO teenagers - aged 15 and 16 - have been charged in relation to two grassland fires which were deliberately started in Moray.
One of the fires broke out on 17 May at Sunbank Park in Lossiemouth and the second on 9 June close to the old railway line near Cummingston Sea Park.
A spokesman for the Moray Division of Police Scotland said: “No one was injured as a result of the fires, however extensive areas of gorse and grassland and the habitat it supports was destroyed potentially displacing or killing birds and animals that make the area attractive to visitors and locals alike.”
Chief Inspector Willie Findlay said: “Both of these areas are enjoyed by members of the public and such fires can take hold and spread quickly, especially in the current dry conditions, causing widespread destruction of wildlife and injury or death to those using the areas and emergency service personnel dealing with the incidents, not to mention those responsible for setting the fires in the first place.
“We are dedicated to detecting crimes such as these and those responsible will be brought to justice. Although two have been charged to date our enquiries are still continuing and reports will be submitted to the relevant authority in both cases.”
Local Senior Officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service David Rout said: “Deliberate fire raising can not only damage buildings, property and cause disruption to the local community - it can also result in people being hurt and could risk lives.
“Deliberately set fires not only waste time and money but they can keep our crews away from real emergencies where people may be in life-threatening situations and need urgent help. This can mean the difference between life and death for someone in trouble. “
He added: “I would encourage people to think about the consequences of setting fires. Not only could they endanger themselves, they can endanger members of the community and staff from the emergency services.”