The True Cost of Wrexham Car Arson Attacks

5 November 2013, 16:00

Heart looks at the cost of the on-going issue of cars being set on fire around Wrexham

With the ongoing issue cars being set of fire in Wrexham, we put in a Freedom of Information request to the North Wales Fire Service, to see the affect it is having on the service, along with the community.

Since the 1st of January 2013, 41 deliberate car fires have been recorded within the Wrexham authority area.  Each callout costs between £292.74 and £295.67, add to this the cost of calling in retained duty firefighters who attend some incidents, these fires have cost the taxpayer £12,211.36    

Carrie Harper lives in Caia Park, on of the areas targeted.  She was in work when her husband called her to say that their family car had gone up in flames: "your first concern is the family, but a week earlier another car had been set on fire and the petrol tank had exploded so your first thought is your family.

"When these attacks have been going on for twelve months the community is left feeling very vulnerable and unsafe despite everyones best efforts it does have an impact."

MP Ian Lucas has been telling Heart that it is something he is aware of, and has been working with police to tackle: They're actually causing them to catch fire over quite a long period which means they're not in the immediate vicinity when the incident happens, that makes apprehension by the police more difficult.

"Someone is going to be very seriously hurt indeed, it's a very dangerous set of events, and we need to watch it carefully."

Kevin Jones, Arson Reduction Manager, said: “Across Wrexham the number of vehicle fires has decreased but we have seen a rise in the number of such fires in the Caia area. 

"Together with our local partners, we are working to address this issue. 

"This work includes introducing diversionary activities for youngsters, additional training for PCSOs, profile raising and additional assistance from the joint police and fire Arson reduction Team, engagement work with local youth clubs involving operational crews from Wrexham fire station, a special Phoenix course for young people in the Caia area and additional CCTV equipment in the area. 

"We are also looking to launch a new outreach initiative this month which will see trained youth workers working with youngsters from Caia Park and talking to them about the consequences of deliberate firesetting and antisocial behaviour.

"This type of criminal behaviour puts not only the lives of those carrying out the activity at risk but also the lives of firefighters attempting to extinguish the fire as well as any members of the public who may attempt to tackle such a fire. 

"We are working closely with local policing teams to combat deliberate firestarting - arson is a serious crime and in conjunction with North Wales Police we will pursue prosecutions. 

"Anyone with information in relation to deliberate firestarters is urged to contact North Wales Police on 101 or anonymously via Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.”