Fire crews have issued a warning after statistics showed there has been an increase in deliberate fires in the north-east.
According to official fire service figures covering the period from February to April last year, there were 58 incidents in Aberdeen compared to 38 for the same period in 2018.
The statistics for Aberdeenshire and Moray for spring 2019 show there were 90 deliberate blazes and 49 between February and April 2018.
The highest number of incidents in Aberdeen over the last five years was 86 in spring 2017 and in Aberdeenshire and Moray the largest number came in at 96.
The north-east forms part of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s north delivery area which includes Perth and Kinross, Angus and Dundee City, Highland, the Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland.
There were 397 incidents of deliberate fire-raising across the north region last spring which is the equivalent of seven incidents every day.
The fire service’s assistant chief officer Ross Haggart said the latest figures are “shocking”.
He added: “We take a zero-tolerance approach to deliberate fire setting and it is a small minority of individuals who are potentially putting themselves, our firefighters and innocent bystanders at risk of serious harm and injury.
“Make no mistake – fire can cause injury and death, it can be devastating to properties, businesses and the environment.
“Last year witnessed a shocking rise in deliberate fireraising during the spring period.”
“These incidents are a needless drain on our resources and can impact on our response to genuine emergencies – where lives might very well be at risk.
“The fact that our firefighters are called to thousands of deliberately set fires each year is completely unacceptable.”
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Mr Haggart said people setting deliberate fires are “reckless and selfish” and their actions can have a “devastating” impact.
“It absolutely goes without saying that we prefer to prevent fires – not fight fires.
“But let me be very clear – we operate a strict zero-tolerance approach to deliberate fireraising. It is reckless, selfish and can have devastating consequences.
“We will continue to work very closely with our police and local authority partners to provide evidence that will ensure those responsible are identified and held to account for their actions.
“It is vital that we continue to remind people that deliberate firesetting is a crime and that a criminal record can affect future life and job opportunities – a price that can be easily avoided.”