Arson blaze on Hawkerland Common

Firefighters from Exmouth and Sidmouth tackled a deliberately-started fire on Hawkerland Common - just days after the fire service launched a campaign to crackdown on arsonists.

Exmouth and Sidmouth firefighters on Friday tackled a deliberately-started blaze on Hawkerland Common just days after the fire service launched a campaign to catch outdoor arsonists.

Fire crews from Exmouth, Sidmouth and Exeter were tasked to the scene shortly before 1pm where around two acres of gorse was ablaze.

The fire service said the cause of the deliberately-started fire was yet to be identified, but police were investigating.

On Wednesday Devon Fire and Rescue Service launched Project Hawkeye – a scheme involving undercover firefighters taking to the common on mountain bikes, armed with video cameras to record evidence of deliberately-started fires.

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The fire brigade has teamed up with the police, Clinton Devon Estates, Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust and the RSPB to actively monitor the commons during daytime hours and after dark in a bid to discourage would-be arsonists, and to gather evidence.

Group commander Mike White urged the public to get involved with Project Hawkeye and report any suspicious activity on the commons.

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He said: “The common is a large area which is why we try to get the public involved. If anyone sees anything suspicious give us, or Crimestoppers, a call.”

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