Summer poster campaign is a bid to strike out arson in Norwich

The Phoenix Centre on Mile Cross Road that was badly damaged by fire, after what is believed to be a

The Phoenix Centre on Mile Cross Road that was badly damaged by fire, after what is believed to be an arson attack. Photo: Steve Adams

Shopkeepers in the city have been urged to show their support for a campaign aimed at cutting the number of arson attacks which take place during the school holidays.

The Strike Out poster. PIC: Peter Walsh

The Strike Out poster. PIC: Peter Walsh - Credit: Archant

The Strike Out campaign, a partnership between Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and Norfolk Constabulary, calls on retailers in the north Norwich area not to sell matches, lighters and accelerants to under 18s.

Working with more than 30 retail premises in the area, officers have provided the stores with advice and posters to display in their premises.

The poster was created by students at Sewell Park College who, working with the Safer Schools Partnership, created the poster in response to a series of arsons that took place in north Norwich during the 2013 summer holiday.

Stuart Horth, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service's Head of Community Safety, said: 'We are hoping that retailers in the area will support the Strike Out campaign – particularly at this time of year, with the hot weather.

'Every year there are significant numbers of fires started deliberately in Norfolk and while we have been very successful in reducing the numbers, working with the police to bring those responsible to justice, these fires have caused risk to life, damage to the environment, and financial loss.

'Stopping the sale of lighters and matches to under 18s at source decreases the chances of them falling into the wrong hands.'

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Insp Nick Hewitt, said: 'Although there is no legal age to buy lighters and matches, many of the shops and retailers in our community recognise their responsibility in helping to prevent this type of crime.'

Between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, there were 58 incidents of arson recorded in the Norwich North area.

In June last year two Norwich schoolboys were found guilty of starting the fire which gutted the Phoenix Centre in Mile Cross and subsequently sentenced to 12 month rehabilitation orders.

The fire on December 15 2012 forced the centre to close over Christmas and caused more than £60,000 of damage.

For more information on the campaign call 101.