Emergency services step up bid to combat arson attacks

PUBLISHED: 11:03 26 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:48 11 May 2010

POLICE and fire services are to join forces to combat a spate of arson attacks in Royston. In the last six weeks, six Virgin Media communications boxes have been set alight in the Burns Road area of the town, with people losing their phones, TVs, and inte

POLICE and fire services are to join forces to combat a spate of arson attacks in Royston.

In the last six weeks, six Virgin Media communications boxes have been set alight in the Burns Road area of the town, with people losing their phones, TVs, and internet access as a result.

Other arson incidents in the town include rubbish fires, and a blaze at the former Taste of India restaurant in Newmarket Road.

Sean Comerford, Royston's fire station commander, said: "We are fortunate in Royston that we don't suffer from a great deal of arson incidents.

"However, in the last few weeks, there has been a spate of deliberate fire setting which is unacceptable and I would ask whoever is responsible to examine their conscience and remember that their actions are putting lives at risk.

Mr Comerford also said that such call-outs prevented his fire-fighters from attending emergencies.

He said: "These acts are incredibly selfish and we will assist the police in any way we can to help them find out who is responsible.

"There is also the issue that some of these communications boxes have a 240-volt electricity supply running through them, which is a risk to our firefighters who are called to put the fires out.

"We really do need to put a stop to this before someone is seriously injured or killed."

And County Councillor Richard Smith, lead member for community safety, added: "Whoever is responsible for these arson attacks, I would urge them to think twice about their actions, and send out a warning to them that we have an absolute zero tolerance approach to arson in Hertfordshire."

Sgt Pete Frost, from the police's Royston Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: "I would like to appeal to anyone who has any information about incidents of this nature to contact police.

"If you have seen anyone acting suspiciously, or if you have noticed anyone smelling of smoke or accelerant, I would ask that you call us with information."

Anyone with information about these crimes should call Hertfordshire police on 0845 3300 222 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111.

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