Wells: ‘Stiff prison sentences for gorse fire arsonists’
Jim Wells, the DUP’s South Down MLA, has warned that only the fear of jail time will deter arsonists from deliberately starting fires in the Newry and Mourne area. Wells was speaking to Newry Times after several days of vicious gorse fires engulfed the surrounding countryside, causing widespread anger in the local community and putting huge pressure on the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.
Wells said, “Once again a large area of gorse and woodland has been destroyed by what is believed to be a deliberate act. All the evidence indicates that most fires in the countryside are started deliberately. During April and May 2011 millions of pounds of damage was caused by fires started by vandals or landowners. This wanton destruction must be stopped before it spreads across Northern Ireland.”
He added, “The only effective deterrent is a stiff prison sentence for anyone caught starting fires in open countryside.”
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