ARSONISTS have torched more than 140 bins across Ellesmere Port – making it one of the worst hit places in the region.
Over the past four years Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service have been called out to 1,834 bin fires across the region and spent hundreds of hours battling rubbish fires after wheelie bins and recycling boxes were set alight.
And in figures disclosed to the Pioneer under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), the service has revealed almost all these fires have been caused by arsonists, who are risking residents’ lives and wasting money and resources with their ‘mindless’ actions.
Since 2009, arsonists have deliberately set fire to 1,592 bins across the region, targeting industrial units, housing estates, parks and schools, sometimes setting fire to wheelie bins and posting the blazes on YouTube.
Although the exact cost of battling the blazes is not yet known, the cost to the fire service is thought to be thousands of pounds.
Cheshire West and Chester Council has assured residents the cost of replacing the bins is not down to the taxpayer but provider May Gurney.
Despite the number of bin fires dropping by 37% during the past four years, arsonists are continuing to use firefighters’ resources by setting fire to 292 bins across Cheshire since May last year alone.
With the number of recycling containers and bins going up since the new waste management service was adopted in October, firefighters fear more bins will be attacked as people leave bins out in the streets for days on end.
One of the worst areas for the arson attacks continues to be Ellesmere Port, where crews have been called 146 times for bin fires since 2009, and the worst area is Warrington, with 251 arson attacks in the same period.
Since May last year, fire crews have been called to reports of deliberate bin fires in:
Ellesmere Port 30 times.
Crewe 26 times.
Chester 12 times.
Congleton six times.
No bin fires were reported to crews in Poynton, Nantwich and Malpas.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s arson reduction manager, Colin Heyes, said the arsonists were risking residents’ lives, but the service would not rest until they were stopped.
“We are committed to reducing the numbers of incidents and it is great to see this number going down, although we won’t rest until we reduce it even further.”