Lives put at risk by ‘selfish’ arsonists targeting hedges

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SETTING hedges on fire is not only putting families’ lives at risk, but also those who could be in real danger in another emergency, say firefighters.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has been called to five hedge fires since last Tuesday, blazes which also damaged property and left one victim suffering potentially lethal smoke inhalation.

One homeowner has branded the arsonists irresponsible as “morons” who should know better.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of further trouble, said: “It’s a new sort of amusement for them, just a laugh to them.

“It could have set fire to the hedge between us and our neighbours and spread quickly, particularly if it had been windy.”

He and his wife were woken up at their home in Belton Lane, Grantham, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

By chance, an off-duty firefighter had spotted their conifer hedge was ablaze.

He dialled 999 and woke up the sleeping couple.

Minutes later, fire crews arrived and extinguished the flames, which damaged a shed in the back garden.

The stench of the charred conifers was still in the air yesterday (Thursday).

Hedges of properties in Sedgebrook, Ropsley, Long Bennington and Barrowby have also been targeted since last Tuesday.

Clive Currie, from the Arson Task Force at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said it was lucky there were no serious injuries.

He added: “Collectively these deliberate incidents have tied up valuable fire and rescue resources for several hours.

“If a call for a life-threatening emergency had come in to us this could have meant a delay in attendance, putting those people requiring our help at risk due to the mindless actions of these selfish people. It could even be their family or friends that they are putting at greater risk.”

Inspector Nigel Storey, of Lincolnshire Police, said a black car was seen at the fire in Grange Paddock, Barrowby, at about 10.30pm on Friday.

He would like to hear from the driver to eliminate the car from police enquiries.

l Information to Lincolnshire Police on 0300 111 0300.