Fresh calls for new community wardens for Fraserburgh have been made following a spate of willful fire-raising.
SNP councillor Brian Topping, who chairs the Fraserburgh and District Safety Group, claims the lack of council-funded community wardens in the town is hindering efforts to prevent blazes.
Although a joint task force of firefighters, police officers and wardens helped drive down the number of deliberate fires across Banff and Buchan from 76 to 40 last year, figures for Fraserburgh were less promising.
There were 12 deliberate fires in the Broch area between April 1 and June 30 this year, the same number as in 2013.
Mr Topping said: “Community wardens are an invaluable service and a great support to the police.
“There are things they can do that the police simply don’t have time to do.
“They could be patrolling the beach, discouraging drinking and dangerous barbecues.
“Some of the willful fire-raising is a result of drinking, and there have been umpteen fires here on the dunes.”
In a report to area councillors this week, Bruce Milne, fire service station manager for Banff and Buchan, said a similar scheme in Peterhead illustrated how important police and wardens could be in tackling antisocial behaviour.
But until Aberdeenshire Council signs off on new funding, there will be no wardens in Fraserburgh to patrol the town.
Mr Topping added: “I know there is money in the budget for them, so why aren’t we recruiting them?
“I’ve raised this at the last two planning meetings – I can’t understand why it’s taking so long.”
Last night an Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “Community wardens carry out valuable work for the benefit of the communities in Aberdeenshire by reducing antisocial behaviour and encouraging community pride, and an ongoing review is being carried out over the next few months into how local residents can be best supported in their area.”