The number of incidents of fireraising in Midlothian is on the increase and higher than the national average.
A report by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service revealed that there were 89 deliberate fires started in the county between April and June this year, 12 more than during the same period last year.
The majority of the fires were described as “secondary”, with 74 per cent in waste or scrubland, woods or crop fields, and 23 per cent involving rubbish bins. The remaining three per cent involved vehicles.
The report said: “Midlothian’s fire setting has been on the increase recently and is above average when compared to the rest of Scotland. Midlothian East, West and Dalkeith wards suffered most from this type of fire setting.” It added that work was ongoing to tackle the problem.
The report said: “Emerging patterns continue to be monitored and prevention activities were planned for those locations.
“Various ongoing preventative activities have been undertaken throughout the year targeting the issue of deliberate fireraising.
“This includes various youth engagement events, Stair Aware activity, visits to schools and other partnership work.”
Fire crews in Midlothian were called out to 312 incidents between April and June this year, a slight decrease of 16 incidents from the previous year quarter. Accidental house fires rose slightly to 16 over the quarter from 12 the year before; however, casualties were down, with just one reported.
Of the house fires attended, 70 per cent were single-person households with half of those over the age of 65.
The biggest cause of fire was cooking, which accounted for two thirds of them, and out of 17 homes attended only 11 had working smoke detectors fitted.
The report said: “It is clear from this evidence to continue to target those mostly at risk in single-occupancy households and to ensure those properties have working smoke detection.”