Police in the north of the city are warning young people about the dangers of starting fires as the summer holidays get underway.
Norfolk Police have once again joined forces with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and the Norfolk Safer School Partnership to launch the Strike Out initiative.
In recent years officers have seen an increase in the number of arsons in the north of the city during the summer months and they have been taking action to prevent that rise this year.
The group have already been into schools in the area to educate young people on the dangers of starting fires and officers from the Norwich North Safer Neighbourhood Team has been working with shops and retailers in the area to ban the sale of lighters, matches and accelerants to anyone under the age of 18.
PC Garry Hoadley, from Norfolk Constabulary’s Safer Schools and Youth Engagement, said: “Unfortunately we saw a rise in the number of arsons in the north of the city last year compared to the previous year so it is vital that communities work together to prevent this kind of crime from taking place which can not only cause significant damage but also potentially threaten lives.
“We have had an excellent response from local shops in the area who have enforced a voluntary ban on lighters, matches and accelerants. Although there is no legal age to buy goods, many of the shops and retailers in our community recognise their responsibility to help prevent arson.
“I would also urge parents to speak to their children about the dangers of playing with lighters and matches.”
Kristie Burdett, Community Safety Manager from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said: “Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have continued to work closely with Norfolk’s Safer Schools Partnership we are thankful to those retailers who are supporting this initiative by removing the ability for young people under the age of 18 to purchase matches and lighters.
“The cost of arson goes beyond the financial cost alone, arson wrecks lives, harms our communities leaving local residents feeling vulnerable, and can damage our environment for years to come.
“A majority of arson is unplanned, arising from opportunity and perhaps even peer pressure, especially as we enter the longer school summer holidays.”