Police investigate suspicious fires at Lake Illawarra

Police are appealing for help from the public following a spate of suspicious fires in the Lake Illawarra area.

Detectives attached to Lake Illawarra Police District are investigating seven fires believed to be deliberately lit in the past month.

About 2.30am today (Tuesday 19 November 2019) police were called to a scrub fire on Hooka Creek Road, Berkeley.

The fire is believed to have started next to the road near the south-west corner of the Berkeley Netball Stadium. Police attended the scene and commenced inquiries into the source of the fire.

About 8pm yesterday (Monday 18 November 2019), police were patrolling Shellharbour City Centre when they came across a small grass fire.

About 5pm Sunday (17 November 2019) emergency services were called to a bushfire at Seven Mile Beach National Park, Gerringong.

The fire was extinguished by the NSW Rural Fire Service and a crime scene was established.

About 1.30pm Thursday 15 November 2019, an off-duty police officer noticed smoke coming from the sand dunes about 100m north of the life guard tower of Warilla Beach.

Detectives believe the fire may have been deliberately lit by a group of young people who were in the area around the time of the fire.

About 10.30am Tuesday 12 November 2019, police were called to a school in Kanahooka following reports of a deliberately lit fire within the school grounds.

Detectives attended the school and are continuing inquiries into how the fire was started.

About 2.30pm on Tuesday 12 November 2019, NSW Fire and Rescue attended a small scrub fire on the western side of Hooka Creek Road, Berkeley, approximately 200m from Hertford Street.

The fire extended approximately 100m west before being extinguished by firefighters.

Shortly after 7pm Thursday 21 October 2019, emergency services were called to Killalea State Park in Shell Cove following reports of smoke coming from scrub land to the south of the beach viewing platform.

The fire was extinguished by firefighters and a crime scene was established.

Officers attached to Lake Illawarra Police District have commenced investigations into the circumstances surrounding the seven fires.

Lake Illawarra Police District Acting Commander, Acting Superintendent Gordon Dunlop said the recent weather conditions are a real cause for concern.

“It’s really distressing to see so many fires being deliberately lit, particularly with recent weather conditions,” Acting Superintendent Dunlop said.

“Even something as simple as flicking a cigarette butt into grass can have devastating impacts, so we’re really urging the whole community to be vigilant and dob in a tosser and report any suspicious behaviour.”

“Information provided to police from members of the public can help us identify and suppress fire-bugs before they start lighting.

“I want to urge members of the community – if you see something, say something. If you have suspicions at all and wish to report a crime, don’t take the risk – contact police or Crime Stoppers.”

Anyone with information about any of the fires is urged to contact Lake Illawarra police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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