Fire authority chiefs have laid out plans to launch their campaign to tackle arson across the region.

Cleveland Fire Authority is to run the campaign from March 1 until May 31 this year, noting incidents peak around the school holiday period, particularly in the spring with lighter nights.

In Cleveland 85 per cent of fire brigade calls are for deliberate fires and brigade bosses estimated arson cost the area £17.9m in 2018/19.

Ian Hayton, chief fire officer, outlined in his report to Cleveland Fire Authority the plans for the ‘Tackling Arson Together’ campaign.

He noted this will also feature a conference with the same name to be held on March 4 aimed at local police and council chiefs, in a bid to highlight the ‘essential’ importance of partnership working in tackling the issues.

He said: “In Cleveland 85 per cent of our fire calls are for deliberate fires and arson is a problem in Cleveland.

“We are also aware that these incidents peak around school holiday periods particularly in the spring as the nights begin to get lighter.

“The campaign will highlight the cost of arson to Cleveland each year and focus on getting our communities to work together to tackle arson with a call to action to report issues.

“It will take a multi-channel approach and we will also tackle the top three wards with the most deliberate fires in each district.”

The rate of deliberate fires per 10,000 of the population in Cleveland is 65 incidents, more than four times the national average of 15.

The most prevalent fires in relation to arson in Cleveland include refuse, grassland and vehicle fires.

From 2009 to 2013 deliberate fires in the area saw slight reductions but since 2013/14 they have been on the rise, increasing from 2,687 to 3,656 in 2018/19, a five-year increase of 36 per cent.

In total deliberate fires accounted for 85 per cent of the 4,302 fires attended in 2018/19, compared to a national average of around 50 per cent for other areas.