Task force aimed at wilful fire raising near Moray town

A new task force has been formed to help in the fight against deliberate fire-raising close to a Moray town.

The task force has been created after 15 separate fires were fought at Sunbank Quarry near Lossiemouth in a five month period from April this year – all of which were started deliberately.

Last month six fire crews had to be called to battle alongside a forestry unit to control one of the most serious fires in the area, and while there were no injuries the persistent nature of the fires has been giving cause for concern.

Now a joint effort involving the Police, Fire Service, Community Wardens and Moray Council Staff is being aimed at raising public awareness of the issue, emphasising the dangers of deliberate fire raising.

Anna Rogers, a station manager with the Scottish Fire Service in Moray, said that ensuring the safety of the public and protecting property from fire was their main concern. ¬†She added: “The deliberate setting of fires is an offence and should be reported to police or Crimestoppers.”

Local Police Inspector Colin Mowat added: “The consequences of being responsible for this sort of behaviour range from causing damage and potential injury to gaining a criminal record.

“I appeal to parents to ensure they are aware of their children’s activities – and to local communities to remain watchful and report any such incidents to the police.”

Andy Jamieson, from Moray Council, highlighted the danger to wildlife at Sunbank Quarry, saying: “In recent months the area has been subject to many fires with grass and gorse being deliberately set on fire.

“Sunbank Quarry is an area which is utilised by local and visitors as a recreational area but the quarry also supports many forms of wildlife.”

Anyone with information about wilful fire raising at Sunbank Quarry or on any area in Moray is urged to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or report to their local police station.