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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Police quiz boy over massive Cumbrian blaze

Police have quizzed a 12-year-old boy in connection with the latest huge fire in west Cumbria as firefighters continue to battle the ongoing outbreak of blazes.

Cleator Moor fire photo
The fire at Cobblehall, Cleator Moor. Photo: Carrie Brogden

The force confirmed today officers had interviewed a child in connection with a fire at woods near Cobblehall, Cleator Moor, that spread for just under a mile across grass and gorse yesterday.

More than 40 firefighters were called out to deal with the emergency.

It came as a reward was offered for information about a separate massive fire at Siddick Ponds Nature Reserve, near Workington, which caused devastation at what is classed as a site of special scientific interest.

Police are not linking this fire and yesterday’s blaze near Cobblehall.

In relation to the Cleator Moor fire, a force spokeswoman said: “Police interviewed a 12-year-old boy from Egremont in the presence of his parents in connection with the fire.

“Further inquires are ongoing by police, working alongside the youth offending service.”

This fire was one of eight across west Cumbria yesterday as the spate of wild fires continue.

Crews were called to deal with two emergencies in Workington, two in Cleator and incidents in Northside, Stainburn, Uldale and at Siddick Ponds.

Last week there were more than 20 nuisance fires in the west of the county and over the weekend there were another 30 more incidents across Allerdale and Copeland.

Fire crews are warning people of the risks of starting nuisance fires, saying their resources are “stretched”.

Siddick Ponds Nature Reserve was damaged in a serious blaze on Tuesday evening. About 40 firefighters spent more than three hours tackling the fire, which is a bird sanctuary and contains large reedbeds that attract rare and endangered species.

Police are currently investigating if this fire was started deliberately.

Bill Bacon, chairman of the Friends of Siddick Ponds, told the News & Star: “About half of the reeds have gone for this year so there are still half of them remaining.”

He added that a reward would be on offer for information on the cause of the blaze. Mr Bacon would not give precise details about the amount being offered but did say: “It will be substantial.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Officers have carried out enquiries in the local community. Police will continue to work with colleagues in the fire and rescue service while they investigate and police patrols will be stepped up across the area.”

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