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Arson incidents up by 16 per cent in district, report says

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Incidents of arson have increased by more than 16 per cent in Wakefield.

Emergency crews are having to deal with a rising number of deliberately started fires across the district, with 971 recorded between April 2017 and March 2018.

By comparison, firefighters attended 815 arson incidents during the previous 12 months, figures from a West Yorkshire Fire Authority report show.

The Fire Service said it is closely monitoring derelict buildings, often a target for arsonists, to reduce the number of incidents.

Almost 80 per cent of the incidents were classed as "secondary fires", which include bonfires, wheelie bin fires and piles of rubbish that have been set alight.

The remainder, classed as "primary fires", involve the most serious kind of incidents, such as attacks on inhabited buildings and cars.

In the report, the Fire Service said it had a database of all empty buildings in the district, which was helping to address "arson hotspot areas".

It added: "The increase in arson incidents is mainly due to the number of deliberate secondary fires that we are attending.

"The development of robust processes for early identification and regular monitoring of derelict sites has prevented many premises becoming the target of arson.

"The South Kirkby Hub (Fire Station) has actively assisted in enhancing arson awareness and education within the district.

"A new project has been implemented with partners to deliver education and awareness to the travelling community within the district."

The number of malicious false alarms the service is dealing with has stayed roughly the same, with South Emsall and Castleford among the most attended places for the offence.

Meanwhile, property related blazes, fire related injuries and road incidents attended by the Fire Service have all fallen.