AN ARSON awareness campaign has been launched in Oswestry following a spate of bin fires in the town centre.
The initiative, which aims to educate the public and shop owners about the risk of arson attacks, has been introduced following numerous wheelie bin fires across Shropshire, including two in Oswestry last Wednesday.
Police are currently appealing for witnesses after a bin at the rear of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) store in Cladw Du alleyway just before 11am caused significant damage to the bin and some damage to the building. Three women required treatment for smoke inhalation.
A second bin fire in Willow Street was extinguished by fire officers before it could take hold.
Tim Harrison, who is spearheading the campaign, said with budget cuts and reduced amount of fire officers, dealing with arson attacks takes up valuable time, money and resources.
He continued: "We plan to go around Oswestry shops to try and educate shop owners as to what they can do if they are faced with a fire situation.
"Recently we have been called to a high level of bin fires and property fires.
“We will be working alongside the police, press and local council to educate people and businesses.”
Theresa Stewart, the assistant manager at BHF who received treatment from paramedics, said: "This has happened before, the wheelie bin was pushed up against the door. Luckily it was a fire door, which is what saved us. There was flames up to the top window.”
Sian Morris, shop volunteer, who was put into an oxygen mask by firefighters, added: “The explosions were awful. Thankfully everyone is all right.”
Anyone with information about the two fires or who may have seen one or more people acting suspiciously in the area at the time, is asked to contact the police on 101 quoting incident number 0222S of July 23, 2014 , or via the anonymous Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111 or by visiting their website www.crimestoppers-uk.org
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