Arsonists strike 40 times in Newhaven

Gorse fire at Castle Hill Nature Reserve
Gorse fire at Castle Hill Nature Reserve

A rash of arson attacks in the Newhaven area is putting lives at risk, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has warned.

The most recent arson was the gorse fire at Castle Hill Nature Reserve on Saturday August 10 at around 11pm.

Fire fighters are now issuing a safety warning to help reduce the risk of wildfires.

Borough Commander Garry Collins said: “Recently we have had over 40 deliberate fires in the Newhaven area, over the weekends, mostly occurring at night between 9pm and 11pm.

“These incidents have resulted in serious damage to the environment, property and more importantly are putting local lives at Risk.”

Crews were called out following reports of a fire at Castle Hill, in Fort Road, at 11.02pm.

More than 50 999 calls were received.

Around 25 firefighters and two officers attended the scene, where an area of gorse measuring about 200m by 100m was alight.

The flames were put out by 2.14am and by 7.30am, crews were at the scene damping down the area.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue have published a list of key points to reduce the risk of wildfires:

• Dry ground in the summer means there’s an added risk of a fire starting, but you should take care at all times of the year. Follow these tips to reduce the chance of a wildfire in the countryside:

• Extinguish cigarettes properly and don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground – take your litter home.

• Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.

• Avoid using open fires in the countryside.

• Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires (take them home and recycle them).

• Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended.

• If you see a fire in the countryside, report it to the fire and rescue service immediately.

• Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.

• If you can, prepare for the arrival of the fire and rescue service at the pre-arranged meeting point, by unlocking gates, etc.

Arson is a serious crime and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service needs the public’s help to identify those involved.

Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Sussex Police on 101.