ONE of Scotland’s most senior firefighters has pleaded with members of the public not to scar their hometowns by setting deliberate fires.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said they attend around 12,000 deliberate fires every year across the country.

And they warned that these potentially devastating incidents can put lives at risk, destroy properties, have an adverse impact on the environment and damage green space.

Group manager David Dourley, the SFRS’s head of fire investigation, is left frustrated and baffled by the motives of those who set deliberate fires.

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He said: “Whether it’s a large or small-scale incident, the resources we deploy should not really be there. They should be ready at the station to attend a genuine emergency where lives may need to be saved.

“It’s not a nice place for people to live and work when they have burnt fire debris and areas left destroyed by unwanted behaviour.

“Think about the impact on the area you and your family are living in - it’s your community, why would you damage it?

“There is a spike in the number of deliberate fire setting incidents during periods of better weather.

“Whether it’s boredom for individuals with nothing better to do or people looking for a bit of drama with the fire service turning up, I don’t know.

“But sometimes giving people an understanding of the consequences of starting a fire is all that’s needed to prevent this sort of behaviour from happening.”