Police appeal for information after moorland fires started ‘deliberately’

POLICE are appealing for information to help catch those responsible for starting fires on Saddleworth’s moors “deliberately”.

In the past 10 days there have been a number of blazes at Yeoman Hey Reservoir and Chew Reservoir in Greenfield.

Investigations into the incidents at Yeoman Hey revealed traces of accelerant were found at three locations at the site.

The fire at Yeoman Hey Reservoir (Thanks to ‘Fire Photos’)

And at a press conference held at Dovestone Reservoir, Superintendent Phil Hutchinson, of GMP’s Oldham district, said they are working hard to find the culprits.

He said: “In recent days, there have been a number of fires on the moorland behind us here at Dovestone Reservoir.

“Following extensive enquiries by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and officers from GMP Oldham’s CID, it is believed that at least four of these fires have been started deliberately.

Superintendent Phil Hutchinson speaking at the press conference at Dovestone Reservoir

“First and foremost, I would like to publicly reassure members of the public and warn offenders that we are following every line of enquiry to identify those responsible and being them to face justice.

“This is being treated as arson which, following conviction, can result in a lengthy prison sentence.

“As well as being criminal, it goes without saying that this behaviour is reckless and could have a devastating impact on the land, the wildlife and local residents – something we have seen before.

“Though extensive enquiries are ongoing in partnership with other agencies, I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to members of the public for information – particularly anyone who has seen anything suspicious or has mobile phone, dash or helmet cam footage which may assist us.

“In the coming days and week, particularly during the heatwave, members of the public who frequent at Dovestones are asked to report anyone they suspect of igniting any kind of flame in the area.

“Saddleworth Moor is currently subject to a Public Space Protection Order and the ignition of any kind of flame – including but not limited to barbecues – is a criminal offence. This includes the disposal of lit cigarettes. Breaching the order can result in a £1000 fine.”

Greater Manchester Police can be contacted via gmp.police.uk or 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.

Information about crime can also be reported anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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