Recent experience has shown that full or overloaded skips can be a tempting target for arsonists, particularly around Bonfire Night, and therefore pose a potentially serious risk to the public.
Now, because of those dangers, Gateshead Council is working with the Fire Service to encourage members of the public to report full and overloaded skips so that they can be removed.
The action is being instigated by Gateshead Council to protect the public and alleviate pressure on the Fire Service during what is traditionally one of their busiest nights of the year.
Anneliese Hutchinson, Service Director of Development and Public Protection, says: “We know from experience the kind of threat that a full skip can pose at this time of the year.”
“The Council has already clamped down hard in some areas on people who leave their bins out due to the number that are routinely stolen and set alight by vandals. In some ways, a skips presents arsonists with an even more tempting target.
“We are taking this pro-active approach to ensure that bonfire night passes off safely. We are therefore urging the public to assist us by contacting Gateshead Council if they spot a full or overloaded skip on the road in Gateshead.”
District Manager for Gateshead Mark Gerrard, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The bonfire period is traditionally the busiest period of the year for us.
“During the last year firefighters attended 24 skip fires and 179 bin wheelie bin fires in Gateshead. Whilst our crews are dealing with deliberate fires they are not available to attend other more potentially life threatening incidents such as someone trapped in a house fire or in a road traffic accident. We are working with our partners to reduce these figures and keep our communities safe.
“We want everyone to have a fun but safe bonfire night. We would encourage everyone to be safe not sorry this bonfire night and attend an organised display."
Anyone who spots a full or over-loaded skip in Gateshead is asked to report its location to the Council’s Highway Enforcement Team on (0191) 433 3905.