EMERGENCY services have pledged to do all they can to reduce the number of deliberately ignited fires in an area of Wrexham.
Officers from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and North Wales Police, who form part of an arson reduction team, have been working hard to tackle arson issues in Caia Park after a spate of incidents in recent years.
Speaking at a meeting of Caia Park Community Council, arson reduction team manager Kevin Jones said the number of arson attacks in the area has dropped from 56 to 41 year on year.
He said the reduction in offending rates is thanks to initiatives such as Phoenix course for youngsters likely to start fires.
However, Mr Jones revealed the arson reduction team faces an uncertain future as Welsh Government funding which keeps it running only lasts until April.
Earlier in the meeting Wrexham Town Inspector Paul Wycherley said there had been only one case of arson in Caia Park in the last month, which was as a result of a joyriding incident when a car was stolen from Rhosddu and set alight in Brynycybanau.
He praised the work done by the team.
Mr Jones said: “We’ve been involved with lots of different projects, some probably work better than others.
“We’ve paid for two outreach workers to engage with youths on the street.
“Their main aim is to encourage those young people to participate in youth activities and reduce anti-social behaviour and the number of deliberate fires.”
He said one technique which was used to deter youngsters from starting fires was posters with large eyes which the fire service have placed in arson hot spots.
“We think they work to move children on.” he said.
Mr Jones highlighted the team’s previous success in Llay, where the number of arson incidents went from 39 down to seven in a year following their involvement.
However, he added: “Llay is not Caia Park, Caia is a lot bigger but we are going to try it and see what we can do.
“This is an area that’s unfortunately been highlighted to have a high number of incidents.
“Clearly we haven’t 100 per cent succeeded as we will only succeed when we have zero fires.
“But we are seeing some success within the Caia Park area.”
In relation to funding, he said: “We’re at the end of a three year funding cycle.
“We’re not sure if we’ll have funding after April.
“We don’t even know if we’ll have a job. The money is paid by the Welsh Government.”
Cartrefle community councillor Maurice Jones asked what type of incidents the fire service had witnessed.
Cllr Jones said: “Some will be vehicles set alight on someone’s drive; some joyriders; it’s a mixture.
“The ones that really concern me are cars set fire to on drives as they’re next to a house.
“We’ve had the worst possible case scenario up here already.”
Council chairman Marc Jones thanked the team for the work and said he hoped funding would be secured to allow it to continue.
“Obviously we hope your funding does continue and your work continues.
“On the back of what happened in Llay that’s quite promising,” he said.