Empty commercial property fires Telford

11th November, 2011

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and West Mercia police are concerned over the growing number of arson attacks on empty commercial buildings.

Derek Taylor the arson reduction officer said “Since 27th October 2011 there have been four Arson attacks on empty commercial properties in the Oakengates, St Georges, Donnington and Dawley areas of Telford”.

“These arson attacks have the potential to cause death and injury as these buildings are sometimes used by the homeless who may be in the building and can also spread to adjacent buildings risking the lives of the occupants and firefighters who will be called to deal with these fires.”

West Mercia Police and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service are offering advice on how to prevent empty properties becoming targets of arson and theft.

“Owners of these types of properties are requested to reduce the risk to their buildings and land from being used for antisocial behaviour/crime and illegal fly tipping by following a few simple rules” said Derek.

These are:

  • Securing the buildings doors and windows with appropriate metal boarding
  • Remove valuables such as furniture to deter burglaries and theft
  • Remove any rubbish from the site which will act like a magnet for fly tipping and a play ground for the local youths
  • Continue to maintain the building and perimeter fences - it is obvious that if you don't care about your building, then why should someone else?
  • Remove fly posters and remove/paint over any graffiti
  • Fit burglar alarms and external lighting
  • Make regular visits and remove any build up of junk mail
  • Consider the disconnection of the premises utilities
  • Ask any neighbours to the premises to act as your eyes and ears supplying your details to representatives of the authorities to assist in the premises management
  • Check for Local Authority grants to bring the building back in use
  • Consider the use of anti climbing paint

To reduce the risk of long term empty premises or premises which will not be bought back into use, we suggest:

  • Remove valuable material like lead, copper and wiring to deter theft
  • Remove all furniture and fitments that add to the fire loading of the building
  • Disconnect electricity, gas and water, to deter intruders and assist the Fire Service and Police of unnecessary danger
  • Remove stairs and lock internal doors to stop intruders having free access to the entire property
  • Brick up unnecessary doors and windows and secure the remaining buildings doors and windows with appropriate metal boarding
  • Erect high quality perimeter fencing
  • Arrange for the destruction of the building and remove the rubble as soon as possible

If anyone has any information about these crimes they are asked to contact West Mercia Police on 101 (the new non-emergency number) or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.