Commons arson alert

PUBLISHED: 10:36 26 July 2013 | UPDATED: 10:36 26 July 2013

Crews were called to a fire.

Crews were called to a fire.

Archant

Exmouth firefighters and police are teaming up again to stop fires and thefts on Woodbury Common.

Project Hawkeye is an arson and crime reduction programme which was first launched five years ago.

Up to 12 ‘malicious’ blazes were being started every summer.

But since the project was launched this has been reduced to almost zero.

The project also seeks to raise the awareness of the dangers of discarding cigarettes and the use of camp fires in the hot weather.

There is a total ban on lighting fires or barbecues on the Commons.

Every year firefighters step up their patrols aim to cut arson attacks during the hot weather.

And some firefighters even take to Woodbury Common on mountain bikes in a bid to crackdown on arson attacks.

Firefighters from local stations will also turn plain-clothes patrols, carrying video cameras to record any evidence of fires started deliberately.

And up to forty signs will be placed in various places on the Commons.

This will enable walkers and visitors to easily identify where the fire is when they are reporting the incident to the emergency services.

Exmouth firefighter Adrian Freeman of Greenwatch said: “We have had a lot of problems with arson. At one point there were two to three incidents every week during the summer months. We tried a lot of things to prevent fires and found that this worked the best and now the incidents have been reduced to almost nothing.”

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