A STARK warning has been issued over a rise in wheelie bin fires in Barrhead.

A number of residents have fallen victim to youths stealing bins and setting them alight.

Now police in East Renfrewshire have joined forces with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) in a bid to tackle the problem.

Sergeant Michael Morgenthaler, who is based at Giffnock Police Station, told the Barrhead News: “Over recent weeks, we have seen an increase in reports of fires and the majority of these involve bins.

“Investigations are ongoing to identify those responsible for these incidents.

“It is a concern to us when bins are set on fire because of the risk of flames spreading to nearby buildings.

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“It is happening particularly in Barrhead – we had three incidents in Kelburn Street and an incident at St John’s Primary School in the early evening of Wednesday, May 22.

“In East Renfrewshire as a whole, this has been happening for a while and we have had a presence in schools at parent evenings, alongside the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, to get the safety message across not only to the children but also to parents.”

Sgt Morgenthaler also told how those who set the bins on fire are putting their own health at risk, as they could easily be breathing in highly-toxic fumes, including cyanide, as a result.

“It is very dangerous,” he said.

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Colin Martin, SFRS group manager, added: “We have a very clear, zero tolerance approach to deliberate fireraising as it puts our communities at great risk. It presents a danger to life, property and the environment.

“We work with schools and community groups to educate on the very real dangers of fire-setting and try to lay bare the fact that every deliberate fire has victims, costs and consequences.”

He continued: “While there has been a slight increase in the number of deliberate fires in the area compared to last year, our continued engagement and prevention efforts have seen the overall three-year average fall by 10 per cent.

“We will continue to work very closely with our police and local authority partners to ensure that those responsible for deliberate fire-setting are identified and dealt with appropriately.”

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