Police open investigation and reveal Dovestones fires were started deliberately

Police say fires at Dovestones near Saddleworth last weekend were started deliberately.

The fires, between Sunday 10th and Tuesday 12th July 2022, were on land near to the car park.

Afterwards, an investigation was launched, which revealed five locations were fires were started. Police say traces of accelerant was found at three of the sites.

Superintendent Phillip Hutchinson, of GMP Oldham district, said: “Enquiries are ongoing to identify those responsible for starting these fires which could have had a devastating impact on the land, the wildlife and residents who live in the surrounding area. I ask anyone with information to share it with us as soon as possible.

“I would like to use this opportunity to remind members of the public that there is a Public Space Protection Order in place at Saddleworth Moor – meaning it is a criminal offence to start fires in the area, including BBQs. A breach of the order can result in a £1000 fine.

“I ask members of the public who frequent in the area and residents who live surrounding it to report anyone they suspect of planning and illegal BBQ or committing any other crime.”

Jim Wilmott, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager at Bury, Oldham and Rochdale, said: “We have seen just how devastating and damaging wildfires can be, especially in Saddleworth, in recent times.

“It’s difficult to understand why anyone would want to deliberately start a fire in moorlands, but sadly it does happen and when conditions are this dry, they grow quickly and easily out of control. For those who do think this is a good idea, you should know that not only does it destroy precious moorland, but it also puts local wildlife and people at danger, causing huge disruption and means our resources are often unable to attend other serious incidents."