9th Dec, 2016

Councillors and firefighters concerned amid spate of arson attacks in Canley

Coventry Editorial 30th Aug, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A SPATE of suspected arson attacks in Canley which have damaged trees, a children’s play area and a school fence have sparked concern among firefighters and local councillors.

Between August 12 and August 15, West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) responded to 27 separate 999 calls reporting fires in the Canley area.

Now Westwood councillor Tim Mayer has joined calls from WMFS to put a stop to the the problem.

On August 12, firefighters received nine 999 calls about several fires in the wild grassland directly behind Canley Children Centre and Charter Primary School.

Firefighters were able to save the school fence which had caught alight in the blaze, but were unable to save the Canley Brook Natural Play Area which was constructed in 2010 at a cost of £35,000.

The play area, which lies a few metres from the Charter Primary School fence, now lies derelict and abandoned – the few remaining play features being unusable.

Four tree saplings that were planted in March this year by students from Warwick Volunteers and community group Canley Green Spaces were also damaged in the blaze, which is being treated as suspected arson.

On the same day, firefighters were also called to four fires in scrublands on Gerard Avenue after receiving two 999 calls.

The following evening, on August 16, WMFS was inundated with 13 separate 999 calls reporting several fires, which are believed to have been lit deliberately lit, in Prior Deram Park.

And just two days later on Thursday, August 18 firefighters were called back to the park to tackle another fire which is thought to be an arson attack.

Coun Tim Mayer said he and fellow ward councillors, David Skinner and Marcus Lapsa, were disappointed by the continued problem with arson in the Canley area.

He added: “We are determined to support and help the great work done by the community services in Canley but would also urge residents to help us by reporting any trouble they see.

“This is a fantastic area with lots of great opportunity and some really great people.

“It is a shame to see it ruined by the very small minority.”

In response to the attacks, a spokesperson from WMFS issued a stark warning to arsonists and parents of young people, saying: “Incidents like this tie up our firefighters who may be needed for genuine emergencies.

“By lighting fires deliberately, no matter how small they might seem, you could be putting lives at risk.

“It also stops firefighters from doing valuable work in the community, helping to keep our most vulnerable residents safe and well.

“During the school holidays, we’d urge parents to make sure they know what their children are doing.”