NT Police are calling on the community to assist in catching bushfire arsonists.
While Bushfires NT, NT Fire and Rescue Service, Parks and Wildlife, and the Central Land Council continue to work closely to prepare for and contain bushfires, everyone can keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
Acting Commander of the Southern Region Police, Michael Murphy described bushfire arson, beside from being a criminal act of deliberately lighting fires, as one of the most serious yet cowardly crimes Police ever have to investigate.
“Arsonists have no regard for human life, animal life nor property and no concern for what their criminal actions may cause.
“Arrested arsonists typically report that they did not intend to cause the damage which they did, or don’t consider themselves responsible for the extent of the damage which their criminal act caused.
“Even illegally lit small grass fires in and around pastoral properties, burns the food and habitat of animals and wildlife respectively.
“I have two clear messages: firstly, for anyone who has, does or is thinking about criminally starting bushfires; bushfire arson is a very serious offence and you are responsible for the full extent of that fire including the damage that results.
“The NT Bushfires legislation supports this with penalties up to $25,000 and five years imprisonment.
“Secondly, I would like to take this opportunity to engage the community to work with us and add to our eyes and ears on the ground.
“Anyone who has information in regards to bushfire arsonists, any photos or vision of bushfires which contain suspicious individuals who have no official purpose in being in the vicinity of the fire, and descriptions, time and locations of persons acting suspiciously including what vehicle they were driving, if any.
“As much detail as possible needs to be called into Police immediately on Crimestoppers 1800 333 000 or Police 131 444.” Acting Commander Murphy said.
‘Report Bushfire Arson’ posters are being distributed throughout the Southern Region to Police Stations, shops and road houses. They are also available here for you to print and pin up at your workplace, community centre, local shop or anywhere else you can think of to assist authorities in communicating this message.
Police and the Fire Services recognise that there are situations in which landholders lawfully start fires including as part of bushfire management for the extreme conditions which continue to threaten the Southern Region.
Anyone with a lawful purpose for lighting fire should seek a permit to burn, take extra care, supervise their fires and prevent them getting out of hand. No fires should be lit on total fire ban days.
For more information on Bushfires, CLICK HERE or visit: http://www.securent.nt.gov.au/preparing/bush_fires/bushfires.html