Mayfield fires raise concerns

This abandoned caravan parked outside Mayfield Leisure Centre was set on fire.
This abandoned caravan parked outside Mayfield Leisure Centre was set on fire.

Concerns have been raised about the number of recent fires in Mayfield, with four incidents reported in a week earlier this month.

Recent incidents in the area include a skip alight at St Luke’s Primary School and an abandoned caravan ablaze in the car park outside the old Mayfield Leisure Centre.

Fire at St Luke's Primary School in Mayfield.

Fire at St Luke's Primary School in Mayfield.

Mayfield and Easthouses Community Council chairman Robert Hogg said: “What are we doing to tackle this before someone gets hurt or a building gets set on fire causing thousands of pounds worth of damage?

“The council needs to alert schools in the area to mention this at assemblies. Local councillors have said they will bring it up with education to raise the issue at schools.

“Also the police and fire brigade need to alert youth groups and the public through social media.

“There is obviously a group or a person going about lighting fires. It’s just a case of the police catching who is doing it. It needs to be nipped in the bud.

This abandoned caravan parked outside Mayfield Leisure Centre was set on fire.

This abandoned caravan parked outside Mayfield Leisure Centre was set on fire.

“We at the community council are very concerned about these recent incidents.

“It appears to be youngsters involved. When the police have arrived on the scene it seems to be the same youngsters hanging about. But the police haven’t got proof yet.

“The fire brigade have done a lot of work with local youngsters, but obviously it’s the ones that they are not reaching that are causing these problems.

“I feel this issue needs to be highlighted so people are aware of the situation, before anything serious happens.”

Chief Inspector Arron Clinkscales, Local Area Commander for Midlothian, said: “We are aware of the recent incidents of fire-raising in Mayfield and I want to reassure our communities that these offences are being investigated to the fullest so that those responsible are brought to justice.

“While we will, of course, conduct thorough inquiries whenever reckless and dangerous acts such as this occur, we will also utilise our School Link Officers to engage directly with young people and highlight the risks associated with setting fires.

“However, preventing these incidents from taking place must be a collaborative approach between police, emergency services, local authority and parents and guardians.

“I would ask all of those who care for young people to have open and frank discussions with the youths they look after and to make it clear that setting fires not only puts you and others in real danger, but it will also result in a criminal record when we identify you as being responsible.”