Half-term crackdown

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WIGAN fire crews are urging residents to secure their wheelie bins at night in a bid to reduce fires which can be lethal.

Fire officers fear an increase in the number of incidents as school half-term, Hallowe’en and Bonfire night coincide and can often lead to an increase in blazes across the borough.

Local partners that include fire crews, police, the council and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust carried out an awareness and fire safety drive at one particular park in Wigan which has been blighted with wheelie bin fires in recent weeks.

But they say there are issues with wheelie bin fires all over the borough – and crews are wasting valuable time putting them out.

The team spoke to youths on Astley Street Park, fitted free smoke alarms in the houses nearby and educated residents on rubbish bin safety.

Wayne Guffog, Atherton station commander, said: “At this time of year, during the half-term period, incidents involving wheelie bins increase.

“In fact, wheelie bin fires happen a lot more than they are reported.

“During our awareness day, we spoke to the residents nearby and educated the local children about when incidents like this happen, where else the fire crews could be and what else they could be doing.

“Each time a fire engine is called out, that costs £2,000 so we hope that by speaking to the youngsters about these incidents, will reduce them. We also spoke to residents and continue to urge people to put their bins out as close to the collection time as possible, so that they are not out all night.

“And then once they have been collected, to put them away as soon as they can.

“When a bin gets stolen and burnt out, that inconveniences the resident who then will store their rubbish in bin bags which can in turn, be a fire hazard also.”

Operation Treacle, which targets anti-social behaviour across Greater Manchester, was also launched this week.

The initiative intends to draw attention to the dangers of playing with fireworks, deliberately starting fires and making hoax calls to the emergency services.