Police officers step up Gramps patrols
10 fires reported in past week
POLICE officers have increased patrols at Aberdeen’s Gramps region after more than 10 fires were reported over the past seven days.
The emergency services have spent hours dealing with gorse fires on the hill amidst fears they are being deliberately started.
And though fire teams have stressed there is “no evidence of criminality” they have made clear they “don’t believe in coincidence”.
Yesterday a spokesman for the fire service said they would “work closely with the police to identify any individuals setting fires”.
Council chiefs said swathes of heathland and trees had been destroyed while only the intervention of fire crews had prevented damage to historic sites.
Police have stepped up patrols on a fire-ravaged Aberdeen hillside after more than 10 blazes in less than a week.
Fire teams say they have so far found no evidence that the fires were started deliberately but they also suspect the recent spate is no accident.
Emergency services have been dispatched to the Gramps district of the city to deal with significant gorse blazes every day since Friday last week.
Around 11am yesterday, teams were called out once more, spending several hours on the hill to extinguish the flames.
Although many of the fires to have struck the area over the last week have been relatively small, some have sent huge volumes of smoke billowing in to the skies above the city.
Parts of the landscape have been left charred and scarred, scoured of vegetation by the flames.
So far, no evidence of foul play has been discovered anywhere on the site but last night Scottish Fire and Rescue Service group manager Darren Riddell said: “We don’t believe in coincidence”.
Before last Friday, fire crews had only been called out to the Gramps eight times this year – a number of those instances amid the worst of the summer heatwave which caused chaos across Moray and the Highlands.
Yesterday evening, Mr Riddell said police were now investigating the source of the blazes and urged walkers enjoying the natural beauty of the area to be careful with open flames.
He said: “We understand it can be distressing and worrying for the community when they see these fires.
“We can confirm that we are working closely with Police Scotland in order to identify the cause of these incidents and take appropriate actions.
“It is important that people are aware that the ground is still very dry following the recent period of hot weather we have experienced.
“Please do not discard lit cigarettes, do not start camp fires, take rubbish home and do not drop litter in the area.”
He added: “Although there has been no evidence of criminality, we do not believe in coincidences.
“These fires have all been started at the same times in the same areas.
“Therefore, police have stepped up patrols. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will work closely with the police to identify any individuals setting fires deliberately and to bring them to justice.”
Anyone with information about suspicious activity in the Gramps district is urged to phone the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 111 555.
RAVAGED: A series of damaging fires in the Gramps area have prompted warnings and left the slopes charred and scoured of vegetation