Vicar Water targeted again in a series of deliberate firesPosted on: Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Over the past week six fires were deliberately set ablaze in wooded areas around Clipstone, three of which targeted Vicar Water Country Park. The most recent incidents from over the weekend are the latest in a series of deliberate fires set in the park by reckless individuals.
Newark and Sherwood District Council is working with Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service on the investigations and to prevent any further damage.
Park visitors are asked to be extra vigilant when around the area. Five of the six incidents occurred between 6pm to 9pm so it is important for those visiting to remain cautious and report any incidents they witness or if they see anything suspicious.
There were six fires reported between Tuesday 5 April and Sunday 10 April, including one incident of rubbish being set alight in a wooded area. It is believed that these were deliberate ignitions most likely caused by a naked flame.
These fires have caused significant damage to the land and will have had a detrimental effect on the wildlife around the park.
The blazes caused destruction to wildlife habitats at a key time for rare ground nesting birds including Skylark and Woodlark, the destruction of micro-fauna, and the destruction of habitats needed for invertebrates including rare butterflies and moths that are found on the heath such as dingy skipper and six-belted clearwing.
The fires also put Fire and Police officers at risk as the areas where the fires are set are often difficult to reach and get equipment to.
Councillor Roger Jackson, Chairman of the Leisure and Environment Committee, said: “Destructive incidents such as these are unacceptable and dangerous and will not be tolerated. This blatant disregard for safety, wildlife, and public spaces must be brought to an end. Our park rangers work hard to keep our local parks beautiful and a safe, clean place for all of our community to enjoy and for the wildlife found here to thrive.
“It is appalling behaviour to deliberately cause such damage and we are working with the Police and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue to investigate those responsible and make sure they face the consequences for their reckless actions.”
District Prevention Officer, Michelle Fitzpatrick, who covers the Newark and Sherwood District, said: “Deliberate fires, whether set with the intention of causing damage or as a result of campfires and barbecues, cause incredible harm and could even cost a firefighter or member of the public their lives. Dealing with these fires ties up our valuable resources and takes firefighters away from emergencies where they might be needed to rescue people from house fires or cut drivers out following Road Traffic Collisions.
“We are asking our communities to act with us to stop these fires. Please educate children in the dangers of setting deliberate fires, and know where your children are playing at all times, especially during the school holidays.
“Anyone who has any information about deliberate fire setting in this area can report it anonymously to FireStoppers on 0800 169 5558.”
Inspector Matthew Ward, District Commander for Newark and Sherwood, said: “ We are aware of a series of deliberate fires at Vicar Water Country Park and another near Cavendish Way. Investigations are ongoing into these reckless and dangerous acts which have caused significant damage to land.
“We are working together with our colleagues at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and Newark & Sherwood District Council to identify those responsible and to prevent any further incidents.
“This kind of behaviour is utterly unacceptable and we are determined to catch up with all those involved. We have already had a great response to recent appeals for information and our investigation continues.
“Residents with any additional information are asked to contact us at sherwoodsnt@Notts.Police.uk, alternatively you can report anonymously to Crimestoppers online.”
Sadly the park has a history of being subjected to fire damage, including during lockdown and in April 2019 when headland equivalent to the size of 14 football pitches was destroyed in a deliberate blaze. Due to this a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) was implemented at Vicar Water Country Park in relation to combating fire-related issues. Lighting fires, barbeques, fireworks, Chinese lanterns and any naked flame is prohibited at the park.
Public Space Protection Orders are designed to promote responsible behaviour and restrict behaviour that is anti-social, in parks and other public open spaces. There are multiple notices around the park informing people of the PSPO.
Failure to comply with the PSPO is an offence and individuals will be liable for a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £100, which aligns with the penalty level of similar environmental and ASB offences.
We encourage any residents that may have useful information on the recent incidents to please report this to PC 2652 Scott by ringing 07976171498 or email sherwoodsnt@Notts.Police.uk .