‘The courts must punish those caught’

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the narrow escape of a young mother and her baby from a blaze deliberately started outside their home is a timely reminder of how big a problem fireraising remains in parts of the Capital.

Firefighters are called upon to deal with hundreds of these incidents every year which divert them from dealing with other incidents,

Most of these start in the same 
innocuous way with rubbish being set alight in a bin or stairwell. One day one of these fires will prove fatal.

There is a culture among some young people that sees playing 
with fire as an acceptable form of 
entertainment.

This remains the case despite years of persistent and imaginative work by Lothian and Borders Fire Service to educate young people about the risks involved.

So what is the answer? There is no single solution, if there was, the problem would have been snuffed out years ago.

The way forward has to include continuing efforts to engage and educate children at a young age, 
especially in neighbourhoods where fireraising is most common.

The courts have to properly punish those that are caught and residents have to do their bit which can be as simple as putting their rubbish out on the right day to cut down on opportunities for these firebugs.

And perhaps the time has come for something more radical as well such as shops in the worst hit areas agreeing to stop selling matches and lighters to under-18s.

Home for heroes

AS the uncertainty over the homecoming celebrations for our 
Olympic heroes continues, we do at least know for sure that Sir Chris and Co will be honoured at an event in Edinburgh.

Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie has vowed to stage the party, including a parade, whether or not the official national celebrations take place in the Capital.

This is clearly good news but really it should never have been in any doubt. The Edinburgh public deserve the chance to honour the sporting achievements not just of Sir Chris and canoeist David Florence but other Scots medallists with links to the city such as Katherine Grainger and Michael Jamieson.

Quite what the delay is in the Scottish Government revealing its plans for a national celebration is not clear, especially as other areas of the UK have been quick off the blocks and already staged their own events. Thankfully, the city council has taken the initiative and ensured thousands will be able to turn out and pay tribute to the stars.