FIREFIGHTERS have joined forces with police and council bosses to crackdown on arsonists who start fires at empty houses in Burnley.

The action is in response to a spate of similar incidents where people have deliberately started fires at properties in Burnley Wood this week.

Burnley crew manager Anthony Harrison said the area had become a ‘hot spot’ over the last few days.

Firefighters were called to incidents in Burnley Wood three times on Wednesday night.

Crew manager Harrison said they had to put out fires in the back yards of houses in Springfield Road twice - at 8pm and then again at 10pm.

They were also called to a property in the neighbouring Reed Street, where police had to board-up a house.

In each of the empty houses rubbish in the back yard had been deliberately torched.

Due to the firefighters’ quick response the fire did not spread to the buildings at any of the sites.

Crew manager Harrison said: “We have noticed a trend in the area over the last few nights.

“We carried out a hot strike, where we handed out leaflets, in the area as some smoke was filtering to the surrounding premises.

“We have teamed up with the police and the council to try to cut down these incidents and the police are making further visits.”

Joanne Swift, Burnley Council’s head of Streetscene, said: “Burnley Council, the police and the fire service have been working closely together for some time now to reduce the number of fires being deliberately set in empty homes across the borough.

“The council will make sure an empty property is made secure within 24 hours of it being reported to us.

“We’ve also drastically reduced the amount of time it takes to clear rubbish dumped in the back yards of empty houses, removing materials that could be set alight.

“Unfortunately there is still a mindless minority who break into empty houses with the intention of starting fires, putting not only their own lives at risk but also the lives of others, as well as damaging property and causing misery for nearby residents.”