Wheelie Bin Arson: A Depressingly Common Crime

Now that the nights are cutting in, and occasions like Halloween and Bonfire night are approaching, our attentions might turn to thoughts of safety on the darker nights. Each year at around this time, the Police and Fire Brigade issue guidance on how to keep your wheelie bins safe, and for good reason. Wheelie bin arson is a depressingly common occurrence.

Arson makes up about 1% of the recorded crime in England and Wales, which does not sound an awful lot, but it does when you consider that 1% is over 375,000 incidents every year.

Recent cases of arson

It seems like wheelie bin arson makes the headlines every day. It’s a thoughtless act which puts peoples’ lives and their property at risk.

Most recently, fire crews had to attend a wheelie bin fire at a block of flats in Preston, and a local beauty spot in Cork, Ireland has become a target for anti-social behaviour. Yobs have set fire to wheelie bins in Glen River Park in the city on a number of occasions.

Why are wheelie bins such a fire hazard?

  • They are made from a high-density plastic called polyethylene, which can burn at temperatures of up to 1000 degrees.
  • Rubbish is often stored close to buildings, and this makes it a fire risk if it is set alight by opportunist arsonists.

Reducing the risk of wheelie bin arson  

  • Station your wheelie bins at least 6 metres away from your property. Make them secure by fixing them to a wall, or invest in a lockable wheelie bin storage unit.
  • Don’t put your bins out for collection too early or leave them out in the street too long after collection
  • Don’t overfill your bins
  • Never put flammable materials in your bin

Preventing your business from becoming a target for arsonists

  • Don’t store large amounts of waste on the premises.
  • Any hazardous or flammable chemicals should be locked away.
  • Always make sure doors, windows and perimeter gates are locked when you leave the premises at the end of the day, especially if it is going to be closed all weekend.
  • Make sure your business premises is equipped with appropriate firefighting apparatus
  • Install security lights and alarms, which are a valuable deterrent.