Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Saturday, 13 March 2010

Dorset heath fire patrols to use mountain bikes

Fire on Upton Heath, Poole
The number of deliberately started fires goes up as evenings get lighter

Fire service patrols will be carried out on mountain bikes in some parts of Dorset from next week in a bid to tackle heath fires.

Community safety teams will use the bikes to patrol heathlands around Poole and Bournemouth, plus other rural areas the force has not been able to reach.

Those on patrol will also be able to carry out free home safety checks.

The number of deliberately started heath fires goes up as the evenings become lighter, the fire service said.

It said its partner agencies, such as Dorset Police, already ran similar schemes.

Gaynor Mant, arson and youth diversion manager, said: "These new bikes will allow us to participate in the heathland patrols in the conurbation area in an effort to reduce deliberate fire-setting on the heath."

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