Firefighters were called to tackle 217 deliberate fires across Ayrshire in just two months.

The shocking figures show Ayrshire was one of the worst hit areas for deliberate fire-raising in Scotland – second only to Glasgow.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service data shows how emergency service crews dealt with a shocking 1,824 needless blazes between March and April 2018.

The deliberate fire calls included the 217 in North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire, 319 in the city of Glasgow, 202 in North Lanarkshire and 128 in Edinburgh –and hundreds more in respective counties across the country.

The blazes involved building and vehicle fires, and also incidents involving outdoor areas such as fields, refuse, and countryside.

The figures have been released ahead of this year’s #StampItOut Spring safety campaign and SFRS Deputy Chief Officer David McGown warned fire-starting will not be tolerated.

He said: “Make no mistake – fire can cause injury and death, it can be devastating to properties, businesses and the environment. The fact that our firefighters are called to thousands of deliberately set fires each year is completely unacceptable.

“Deliberate fires are not only reckless and dangerous, but can also divert SFRS resources away from genuine emergencies where people require our help.

“Let me be very clear – we operate a strict zero tolerance approach to deliberate fire raising.

“This reckless and selfish behaviour will not be tolerated, and 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.

“I would also urge the public to continue to support their firefighters by reporting any fire related anti-social behaviour because there are always people out there in need of our assistance at genuine emergencies – and every second counts.”

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