A FIRE chief has blasted the young ‘idiots’ who deliberately sparked a series of rubbish fires in Burnley over the weekend.

In one incident on Friday night, youths dragged a wheelie bin under some play equipment at Rakehead Recreation Ground, in Sharp Street, and set it alight, causing extensive dam- age to a large swing.

Burnley fire crews had already been called to the play area, near Burnley General Hospital, just two hours earlier, at 9.30pm, after a bin was set on fire, as well as a rubbish fire in neighbouring St Cuthbert Street at 10.10pm.

Small fires were also reported in Colne Road at 7.20pm, Kime Street at 10.15pm, and Piccadilly Square at 12.15am, which were all thought to have been spark-ed deliberately.

And crews were again called to Rakehead Rec on Saturday night when more wheelie bins were set alight.

Acting crew manager Lee Pickup said: “We always tend to get these problems around the Easter holidays and they are risking lives because we could be tied up with a small rubbish fire when we’re needed for a critical incident.

“These idiots could cost lives and I would urge them to please stop and think about what they are doing.

“What if a member of their family was involved in a serious fire when we were out dealing with some rubbish?”

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue added: “While also causing damage and destruction to property, deliberate fires can cost lives as valuable fire service resources are tied up and unable to attend more serious incidents which may occur elsewhere.

“We would urge all residents in the area to remain vigilant of deliberate fire setting on the park.”

The crews warned that skips and rubbish left in back yards and backstreets can lead to deliberate fire setting, and urged for any concerns to be reported to Burnley Council on 01282 425011.

n If you suspect any deliberate fires, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111.