Police concerned bored teens are turning to arson

7:16 pm on 23 April 2017

Teenagers bored during their school holidays are turning to lighting fires, police in Upper Hutt say.

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Over the past few weeks, a series of fires have been lit inside rubbish bins, letterboxes and skips in the suburb of Stokes Valley.

Sergeant Alan Cappleman said children as young as 10 could be responsible, and they appear to be acting out of boredom late at night and in the early hours of the morning.

"We're concerned that if this continues someone might be injured, including the person that's lighting them who could be overcome by smoke and become a victim themselves.

"It could be down to a bit of boredom, a bit of experiment, which is a dangerous mix."

Mr Cappleman, who is also a volunteer fireman, said it puts people's safety at risk and also affects the volunteer firefighters who have to put them out.

"Guys and girls are getting out of bed at 2 or 3am to go to put out rubbish bin fires or skip bin fires, then maybe 5 o'clock they finally get to bed but then they've got to get up to go to their day jobs... it just becomes very hard when night after night they're getting called out to small little fires."

Sergeant Alan Cappleman said anyone who could help identify the youths involved should contact police so they can talk to them.

"The Fire Service has an excellent prevention programme to help work with the kids, their families and all those concerned and it's designed to help rather than punish anyone involved and that's what we want, we just want to work with these kids."