More than 1,000 deliberate fires recorded throughout region in spring lockdown

More than 1,600 fires were started deliberately across the region during the first coronavirus lockdown including more than 100 in Shropshire, new figures reveal.

Fire chiefs say the high number of call outs put an extra strain on services at a time when many firefighters were helping deliver food and medicine to vulnerable people, as well as supporting police and ambulance services dealing with the pandemic.

Home Office data shows that the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service responded to 126 deliberate fires between April and June.

Meanwhile the West Midlands Fire Service attended 934 deliberate fires, and the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service responded to 574.

There were 30 casualties, none of which were fatal. And crews have continued to be called out to deliberate fires during the second lockdown.

National Fire Chiefs Council chair Roy Wilsher said: “During these unprecedented times, the fire service is working incredibly hard to ensure the safety of communities across the entire UK, doing their upmost to protect the most vulnerable.

“However, it is shocking and unbelievable that we have seen so many deliberate fires, which results in additional pressure on already stretched resources.”

Fire and rescue services across England attended more than 20,000 deliberate fires during the three month period. A Home Office spokesman said: “Deliberate fires needlessly waste firefighters’ precious time.”

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