A SPATE of arson incidents over recent weeks has prompted a warning from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Crews from Swindon, Westlea and Stratton fire stations have had to deal with 17 deliberately-set small fires since April 17. The fires have torn through fences, rubbish piles, bins and grassland.

Station Manager Greg Izon said: “When fire crews are sent to deal with deliberate small fires, it means they are unavailable for other incidents, such as bigger fires or road traffic collisions. People need to remember that deliberately starting fires is a criminal offence, and even the smallest fire can spread to something far more serious. We have seen numerous cases over the years where a small fire in a bin, for example, has led to an entire building being destroyed.”

The fire service recommended people reduce the risk of being affected by arsonists by only putting out your wheelie bin on the morning of collection, parking vehicles in a well-lit place, store rubbish away from buildings and keeping garden gates secured.