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Vicar Waters targeted in a series of deliberate fires

Posted on 18 April 2022

Over the past week six fires were deliberately set ablaze in wooded areas around Clipstone, three of which targeted Vicar Water Country Park. The most recent incidents from over the weekend are the latest in a series of deliberate fires set in the park by reckless individuals.

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is working with Newark and Sherwood District Council and Nottinghamshire Police on the investigations and to prevent any further damage.

Park visitors are asked to be extra vigilant when around the area. Five of the six incidents occurred between 6pm to 9pm so it is important for those visiting to remain cautious and report any incidents they witness or if they see anything suspicious.

There were six fires reported between Tuesday 5 April and Sunday 10 April, including one incident of rubbish being set alight in a wooded area. It is believed that these were deliberate ignitions most likely caused by a naked flame.

These fires have caused significant damage to the land and will have had a detrimental effect on the wildlife around the park.

The fires also put emergency service personnel at risk as the areas where the fires are set are often difficult to reach and get equipment to.

District Prevention Officer, Michelle Fitzpatrick, who covers the Newark and Sherwood District, said: “Deliberate fires, whether set with the intention of causing damage or as a result of campfires and barbecues, cause incredible harm and could even cost a firefighter or member of the public their lives. Dealing with these fires ties up our valuable resources and takes firefighters away from emergencies where they might be needed to rescue people from house fires or cut drivers out following Road Traffic Collisions.

“We are asking our communities to act with us to stop these fires. Please educate children in the dangers of setting deliberate fires, and know where your children are playing at all times, especially during the school holidays."

We encourage any residents that may have useful information on the recent incidents to please report this to PC 2652 Scott by ringing 07976171498 or email sherwoodsnt@Notts.Police.uk.

Councillor Roger Jackson, Chairman of the Leisure and Environment Committee, said: “Destructive incidents such as these are unacceptable and dangerous and will not be tolerated. This blatant disregard for safety, wildlife, and public spaces must be brought to an end. Our park rangers work hard to keep our local parks beautiful and a safe, clean place for all of our community to enjoy and for the wildlife found here to thrive.

“It is appalling behaviour to deliberately cause such damage and we are working with the Police and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to investigate those responsible and make sure they face the consequences for their reckless actions.”

Sadly the park has a history of being subjected to fire damage, including during lockdown and in April 2019 when headland equivalent to the size of 14 football pitches was destroyed in a deliberate blaze. Due to this a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) was implemented at Vicar Water Country Park in relation to combating fire-related issues. Lighting fires, barbeques, fireworks, Chinese lanterns and any naked flame is prohibited at the park.

The image below taken by a drone shows how much land has been damaged and how big the area on fire was. Thank you to Katie Doull for letting us use your image.