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The Red Thread

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South Wales Police issues stark warning to those involved in starting “deliberate and destructive” grass fires

Written by on 23rd April 2020

Following a spate of large grass fires which have put our communities and fire service colleagues at risk, South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Andy Valentine urged those responsible to think long and hard about the consequences of their actions.

ACC Valentine, who’s leading the force’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic,  said: “Not only do grass fires have a devastating and long-lasting impact on our countryside and mountains, they also put our emergency services – in particular our fire services – under significant strain.

“During the current climate these deliberate, destructive and wanton actions are even more incomprehensible.

“Like every other frontline and essential service, South Wales Fire and Rescue and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue services’ own workforces have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and deliberate acts such as these demand a huge amount of resourcing – resources which could be needed elsewhere in the community.

“Quite simply, these fires are putting people’s lives at risk, whether due to their proximity to homes or due to the tying up of resources.

“They are also placing those suffering with Covid-19 or any other respiratory problems at in increased risk, with the dense smoke they create significantly impacting the air quality.

“I’d urge those engaging in such mindless acts to really consider the potential consequences of their actions. Such actions are never tolerated by our fire service colleagues or ourselves, but in the current climate they are particularly reprehensible.

“My message to anyone involved is simple. Think about your actions, stop now or you will face the full force of the law.

“Not only do grass fires pose a serious risk to the culprit and others, a criminal conviction can have life-long implications for an individual. Lighting grass fires is never worth the risk.

“Our communities can also play a huge part. Children are not exempt from the government-imposed restrictions and I’d ask parents to ensure their children are abiding by the rules. I’d also encourage vigilance – anyone with concerns or information should report it immediately.”

South Wales Police can be contacted via 101, or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.