Time to take action over malicious fireraisers

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

COMMUNITY leaders are calling upon the Home Secretary to take action against a spate of arson attacks in Wrexham.

Political heavyweights Wrexham MP Ian Lucas and Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones are urging Theresa May to put more police on the streets in a bid to stamp out the attacks.

The latest attack saw reckless arsonists torch a mountain of rubbish yards from a children’s play area.

The yobs set alight the rubbish in a recycling area at the Venture children’s playground in Garner Road, Caia Park.

A crew from Wrexham fire station were on the scene within minutes to battle the blaze, but staff at the Venture say it could have had “disastrous” consequences if flames had spread to the centre’s wooden walls.

The Venture – a large wooden stockaded recreation centre – is used by hundreds of children from the Caia Park estate.

Early Years manager Karen Davies said: “It looks like sheer wanton vandalism.

“It appears the rubbish was dumped here and then set alight.

“This is a wooden structure and if the fire had spread from the recycling area it could have had disastrous consequences.”

The Leader has reported on at least nine arson attacks in Wrexham in the past week.

Last week arsonists struck six times in two days at Alyn Waters Country Park. A quantity of grass was also set alight on Cefn Mawr High Street last Wednesday.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas and Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones, both of whose constituencies have been affected, are now both demanding action to stamp out the malicious blazes.

Following an incident in which gorse was deliberately set alight in Mount Zion, Brymbo, last Thursday night, Mrs Jones said: “I am very worried about these attacks. Earlier this year I asked North Wales Police to allocate extra officers to tackle them, but it’s no surprise they are stretched thinly after losing £22.6 million of funding.

“In fact, I understand that there is now only one Police Community Support Officer for the whole of Brymbo and Tanyfron.

“This time I’m going to go right to the source and ask the Home Secretary what she is going to do to help. Our local police deserve proper support to put a stop to these arsons. The Home Secretary needs to give North Wales Police the funding they need to deal with this very serious situation.”

Ian Lucas said: “These fires are really serious – elderly people in particular in my constituency are very worried about them.

“There are definitely fewer police around now.

“So I am joining with Susan Elan Jones to put pressure on the Home Secretary to ensure that our areas are properly policed.”

North Wales Police say the PCSO for Brymbo will be targeting the arson hotspots over the coming weeks.

Chief Inspector Mark Pierce, of North Wales Police, said: “The PCSO for the Brymbo area, which includes Tanyfron, forms part of the local Neighbourhood Policing Team which also consist of community beat managers and a community beat sergeant who collectively police the area along with support from response officers and colleagues from other departments.

“There has been no recent change to the PCSO numbers across Wrexham county.”

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