Residents in Borehamwood are being encouraged to take steps to keep their bins safe after a spate of arson attacks including two separate fires outside a community centre on the same day last week.
More than 30 incidents have been reported to Hertfordshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue since August last year. Most have taken place in the Farriers Way area of town. Two wheelie bins were set alight outside the Farriers Way Community Centre on Monday 15 May. The two incidents took place four hours apart, one at 5pm and another at 9.30pm. Last night (Tuesday 16 May) there were a further seven offences. Police are appealing for witnesses or for anyone with information to come forward.
Last summer, a fire was started near a day nursery and, in another incident, a caravan was damaged after a nearby bin was set alight. No-one has been injured so far, but authorities fear that lives are being put at risk.
Our waste collection teams will be issuing safety advice to residents. Fliers will be delivered to homes in the affected area during the coming days. These fliers include advice on how to keep bins safe as well as an appeal for anyone with information about the offences to come forward. You can read a copy here.
Valerie Kane, our Community Safety Manager, said: “Attacks like this could be extremely dangerous which is why we are working together to tackle this problem.
"Householders can take some simple steps to ensure their bins don’t become a target for arsonists. By storing your bin in a safe, secure location and leaving it out for the shortest period of time possible before and after waste collection, you can minimise the risks.
“It’s also important to mark your bin clearly with your house number and if you don’t have a garage, to keep it on your property, but not near other buildings or cars.”
Hertsmere Chief Inspector, Steve O’Keeffe, said: “We are taking these crimes very seriously and have increased high-visibility patrols, conducted house-to-house enquiries and have been using other covert tactics to catch those responsible.
"The fires have been started close to homes and it is only a matter of time before someone gets injured. If you know who is responsible, please contact us or Crimestoppers, so we can put a stop to this dangerous offending."
Station Commander Lee Haward said: "Residents should be on the lookout for anyone starting fires and always call 999 if there is any uncertainty about a fire.
"Arson is extremely dangerous. It puts lives and property at risk. While our crews are dealing with arson incidents, they are diverted away from other emergencies and community safety work. We ask all residents to be vigilant and report any behaviour they are concerned about."
The continued partnership working seeks to address how these offences can be prevented, including input from housing association Affinity Sutton, who own a number of homes in the area.
If a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life, call 999. Anyone with information should call the police non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Alternatively, information can be given online via the Crimestoppers website
In addition, homeowners are being reminded not to dump their waste illegally in public spaces. Flytipping is a criminal offence, which carries an unlimited fine or up to five years' imprisonment.
Posted on Wednesday 17th May 2017