A teenaged boy has been charged after police surveilled him allegedly setting bush alight in the Lake Macquarie area last week.
Strike Force Kurla – which is a joint investigation team comprising officers from the Financial Crimes Squad’s Arson Unit and Lake Macquarie Police District – has been investigating suspicious fires within the district.
Investigators from NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) also assisted with the investigation.
Police will allege in court that the 17-year-old boy lit a fire in bushland on Archery Road at Wakefield, about 12.30pm last Friday (4 January 2019).
The youth was arrested during a vehicle stop on Rose Avenue, Glendale, about 8.15pm, and taken to Toronto Police Station, where he was charged with three counts of light fire and be reckless to its spread.
The charges relate to fires at Weir Road, Teralba, on Thursday 22 November 2019; Current Avenue, Teralba, on Saturday 8 December 2018, and the fire at Wakefield last Friday.
The teen, who is a volunteer for NSW RFS, has been granted strict conditional bail to appear at a children’s court on Monday 4 February 2019.
Investigations under Strike Force Kurla are continuing.
Police are also reminding people that they could face penalties if found responsible for the lighting of bushfires – accidental or otherwise.
Penalties relating to bushfires under the NSW Crimes Act, the Rural Fires Act, and Rural Fires Regulation include:
– Damaging property with the intention of endangering life – up to 25 years imprisonment;
– Manslaughter – up to 25 years imprisonment;
– Starting a bushfire and being reckless as to its spread – up to 14 years imprisonment;