Darwen Moor fire: Reckless pair sentenced over barbecue moor fires

Darwen Moor fire: Reckless pair sentenced over barbecue moor fires

Two men who lit a barbecue on moorland, sparking a major blaze spanning three miles (5km) have been ordered to make amends for their “reckless” behaviour.

Crews spent seven days tackling the burning moorland in Darwen, Lancashire after flames broke out on 30 May 2020.

Jack Birtwistle and Henry Clark, both 25 and from the town, have each been given a conditional caution.

They were ordered to carry out 150 hours of “pretty hard graft” repair works, Lancashire Police said.

Blackburn and Darwen Police said on Facebook that the pair would “put right some of the damage” and see how the moorland was “still trying to recover”.

A spokesman said Birtwistle, of Marsham Grove, and Henry Clark, of Epworth Street, had “admitted their guilt for reckless arson before their court appearance”.

He said they had admitted that “taking a disposable barbecue onto the grassy moors and lighting it without having regard for the clear warnings on the packaging or consideration that the grass may ignite was a reckless act, rather than a mere accidental fire”.

A Blackburn Magistrates’ Court spokeswoman said the arson offence had been withdrawn and the defendants had signed an acceptance of conditional caution.

Reparation work will include removing burnt fencing and footbridges, assisting dry stone wall repairs, and planting species of rare plants.

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