The offence of criminal damage involves someone without lawful excuse:
- Destroying or damaging any property belonging to another.
- Intending to destroy or damage property.
- Being reckless with property which causes damage or destroys it.
The Criminal Damage Act also states that where the criminal damage is caused by a fire, the offence will be treated as arson.
Arson is the crime of intentionally and maliciously setting fire to buildings, wildland areas, dumpsters, vehicles or other property with the intent to cause damage or injury.
An individual found guilty of arson could potentially be imprisoned for life. This maximum penalty recognises the really serious, even life-changing, consequences the crime of arson can have on the victim and their families. This can include people losing their home and all their possessions and suffering serious injury. This also takes into consideration the fact that arson can have serious consequences for neighbouring properties and entire streets if the fire takes hold.
How can I protect myself?
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service provides advice on how to protect yourself from arson.
Please use this link to take a look at their advice.
You can also contact Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service for a home fire safety visit by ringing 0800 731 5958 or click http://www.merseyfire.gov.uk/aspx/pages/prevention/hfsc-form.aspx to arrange a visit.
If you're home has already been damaged, try and get it repaired as soon as possible to prevent further vandalism.
Where can I get help or further information?
If the criminal damage or arson is in progress, dial 999 immediately.
You can also report instances on the police website or by calling 101.
If you have any information which you think may relate to the criminal damage or arson keep a record and make sure you tell the authorities, no matter how small it may seem.