FIRE starters have cost taxpayers in Nuneaton, Bedworth and North Warwickshire almost £22 million pounds.
It has been revealed that arson attacks in the county have hit the public purse to the tune of £21,830,084 over the last four years.
The shock figures were released to the Nuneaton News by Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, which is hoping to drive the numbers down and help keep everyone safe.
Arson reduction manager Ian Tonner said: “Deliberate fire setting is not only dangerous for the individual involved, but it can devastate communities, schools and businesses. In the worst cases, lives can be lost.
“Ultimately, our priority is to keep the public and our firefighters safe and reducing arson and anti-social behaviour plays a big part in how we achieve that.
“We also need to support businesses to stay in business during this economic downturn, by educating them on how to reduce the risks of arson at tacks on their premises.”
The statistics show that more than 1,249 fires were deliberately started in the last year alone, with 1,652 appliances being called out.
Deliberate at tacks on commercial premises cost an average of £4,365 with deliberate fires in homes estimated at £12,800.
Around half of the fires were rubbish or bin fires, with the biggest being derelict buildings and skips.
Nuneaton and Bedworth have previously been named and shamed as the arson hot spots of the county, with the Camp Hill estate being victim to a number of deliberate blazes on empty homes as it undergoes a major revamp.
The service recently launched its Small Fires Unit to deal with deliberate incidents within the borough.
“In addition we remain committed to our partnerships as we work together to protect the community and make Warwickshire a safer place to live,” added Mr Tonner.