Police charge three juveniles over Newcastle fires

Police have charged three juveniles with deliberately lighting bushfires near the John Hunter Hospital at Newcastle over the last two days.

About 6pm on Friday 4 January, Fire and Rescue NSW responded to a number of fires that had been deliberately lit inside George McGregor Reserve located between the John Hunter Hospital, Lookout Road at New Lambton Heights and Rankin Park.

Six Fire Units responded to the incidents with two separate fires burning near the hospital. Both were quickly extinguished and a third fire was identified a short time later and also put out.

Emergency services had previously responded to a number of deliberately lit fires in the same area on the previous evening (Thursday 3 January 2013).

Due to the frequency of the incidents police from the Newcastle City Local Area Command continued patrols of the area and Fire and Rescue NSW left a fully crewed vehicle at the scene on permanent standby.

Police were conducting inquiries into a group of young males who were seen acting suspiciously in the area at the time of the fires.

Officers attended homes at Elermore Vale and Wallsend overnight where they arrested three teenagers.

The youths 15, 16 and 17-years-old were all charged with intentionally cause fire and be reckless as to its spread.

The 15 and 16-year-old boys were granted conditional bail to appear at Broadmeadow Children’s Court on 5 February 2013.

The 17-year-old Wallsend male was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Children’s Court later today. Inquiries into the incidents continue.

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