A SCHOOLBOY from Lyndon has been arrested on suspicion of arson by local police investigating a series of recent fires in Barn Lane Park.
Several residents, whose properties back onto the recreation ground, have reported fire damage to garden fencing caused by youngsters starting grass fires. In one incident a shed and patio furniture also went up in flames.
Police officers have now arrested a 14-year-old in connection with the attacks.
Sergeant Carol Alldred from the Elmdon & Lyndon Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “Youngsters are stacking dried grass, twigs and other debris up against wooden fencing and starting fires. In some cases these are spreading into gardens and causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.
“These incidents can’t be dismissed as childhood pranks…we’re actively pursuing those responsible and are running a number of operations in the park to identify the offenders.
“We’d ask for residents and park users to report any suspicious activity to us.”
Sgt Alldred is visiting local schools to talk to pupils about the danger of fires and to warn that culprits will be dealt with severely.
Offenders will also be required to attend West Midlands Fire Service’s fire safety tutoring programme which tackles the behaviour of young people with an unhealthy interest in fire by teaching them about the hazards and potential consequences.
Sgt Alldred added: “I’m aware of one incident in which a youngster is reported to have ignited a deodorant can. This is extremely dangerous: not only could this have caused serious burns but also injury from shrapnel if the canister had exploded.”
Any suspicious activity in Barn Lane Park should be reported to the Elmdon & Lyndon neighbourhood team on 0345 113 5000.