A TEENAGE Rural Fire Service volunteer has been charged over lighting three bushfires in the Lake Macquarie area.
Officers from the financial crimes squad’s arson unit and Lake Macquarie police had been investigating suspicious fires within the district when surveillance allegedly caught the teenager lighting a blaze last week.
Police will allege in court that the 17 year old lit a fire in bushland on Archery Road at Wakefield, about 12.30pm Friday.
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 November 22; Current Avenue, Teralba, on Saturday December 8 and the fire at Wakefield on 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 February 4.
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
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