Firefighters to speak to Wigan residents after spate of wheelie bin fires
Fire crews will go door-to-door to issue fire safety advice to residents after an alarming rise in the number of wheelie bins being stolen and set alight.
Watch manager Mark Anderson from Hindley fire station says his crews have been called to no less than four reports of bin fires in as many days, including one which caused two vehicles to go up in flames.
Firefighters were first called to reports of a blaze in Park Road, Hindley at around 6pm on April 3. They arrived to find a bin had been set alight in the bandstand at Leyland Park, and was strewn with litter and waste.
They were then called back to the very same place around 8pm yesterday (Thursday, April 5), where yet another bin fire had been started.
Mark said: "Being wheelie bins, the fires are quite large. They flare up easier."
He added: "It really is a mess. The state of the bandstand is disgusting."
And although it cannot be said for certain, Mark says it appears as though all the fires are being started by youngsters.
"I don't know if there's a correlation between the amount of bin fires and children being on the school holidays, however it is possible that that is the case.
"In all cases where people have been seen doing this, it has been youths reported."
This, followed by a bin fire in Platt Bridge which destroyed two cars, and then another report of a waste blaze on a canal towpath in Ince just an hour later, has led the fire service to draw up plans to issue safety advice directly to residents, in a desperate bid to stop the mindless acts.
The door-to-door campaign will urge residents to make their bins as secure as possible, by keeping them in a locked back garden where possible, and to only leave them out in the street as close to collection time as possible.
"There doesn't seem to be any arson attacks, it's just when kids are knocking about together," Mark said.
"If we can reduce the opportunities for them to obtain things they can set on fire, we hope it will the reduce the incidences."