ARSONISTS DESTROY LAND AT PINEWOODS
A HUGE chunk of land at Formby pinewoods has been destroyed by young arsonists.
A ‘significant area’ covering trees and dunes was wrecked by fire after a group of males, thought to be teenagers, were caught setting grassland alight.
In total, the youths are believed to have started an astonishing twenty one fires in the area before the flames took hold. Around eight ‘young men’ were chased through the woods and dunes by National Trust rangers and members of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.
The fireststarters had initially been seen lighting two large fires in the woodland by a member of the public at 4.15pm, who reported them to National Trust staff.
National Trust Ranger Rob Mathew said ‘We are very grateful to the fire brigade for their support: with 21 fires alight we very nearly lost control, which would have resulted in massive damage to the northern end of the Formby site, not to mention the potential for injury to members of the public.
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“Any arson attack is extremely serious and damage to a Triple Site of Special Scientific Interest such as Formby under the Wildlife & Countryside Act can lead to a fine of £5,000.
“At the request of the fire brigade, two police offers attended the scene and eventually managed to corral the people involved into the car park, before allowing them to leave site.
“The men were monitored by National Trust Rangers as they left via Victoria Road.
“We want to work much more closely with local police to prevent this kind of incident reoccurring” continued Rob Mathew, “and we look forward to holding discussions with them to hear how they think we might tackle the problem.
“It is of particular concern that this arson attack was carried out in broad daylight.
“The lighting of fires on the beach or in the dunes or pinewoods is prohibited for good reason as we have seen from this arson attack.
“We would ask all visitors to Formby to be vigilant and if they see any suspicious activity to report it to a National Trust Ranger or member of staff at our Countryside Office.”