A SPIKE in suspicious fires has prompted Victoria Police’s arson and explosives squad to educate youth at Mildura’s schools.
Four detectives and CFA’s Loddon Mallee region community education officer Kevin Sleep spoke to students at Ranfurly Primary School on Monday, Mildura Specialist School and Mildura South Primary School on Tuesday and Two Rivers College yesterday.
The squad is focusing on preventative measures after 40 incidents of criminal damage by fire were recorded in the Mildura Police Service Area this year, compared to 12 in the second half of last year.
Detective Senior Constable Brad Guy said the squad aimed to deter youths who may surf the net and get ideas to experiment with fireworks and homemade explosives.
“This is the target age group for us to get the message across about fire danger,” Det Sen-Constable Guy said.
“It’s been a trend for a while that people are getting injured as a result of experimenting, so we want to let kids know not only is it dangerous, but they are committing a crime where people can be charged and go to court.
Detective Senior-Sergeant Jeff Maher warned students about the long-term effects of fires.
“A small fire can lead to a fatality – one minute you’ve got a bin burning and the next minute you’ve got a structure burning, then you’ve got a fatality and the full load of the law will come down on you,” Det Sen-Sgt Maher said.
“If you get caught doing something wrong, it can restrict your access to certain countries, like America – and you can’t go to Disneyland.
“Arson is a serious crime.”
And it seems the message was well-recieved at by 104 Year 6 students at Mildura South Primary School.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Thursday's Sunraysia Daily 23/08/2012.