THE police and fire services are working to combat the dangers posed by empty and derelict buildings.

The North Powys Neighbourhood Policing Team have been working closely with the Arson Reduction Team to tackle the dangers of such properties.

There have been a number of calls relating to anti-social behaviour, low level crime and arson at empty and derelict properties which put people involved and emergency workers in potential danger.

These buildings may often seem of little value to their owners but can pose a serious risk to properties around them and those who may enter them illegally, such as young or homeless people. These buildings can become magnets for anti-social behaviour and other types of criminality associated with drug and alcohol abuse, criminal damage and arson. They can also pose a public safety risk if left to fall into a state of disrepair as well as containing many hidden hazards such as asbestos.

Derelict buildings can pose a number of challenges for firefighters, who cannot immediately establish what state of disrepair the building is in. There may have been acts of vandalism committed to the fabric of the building. This presents hazards to crews such as risks of structural collapse and exposure to electricity and gas services. Floorboards may be missing, and unstable staircases may be inside. The pace of fire spread within a derelict building can be much quicker and progress further than would be normally expected as safety measures such as fire and smoke equipment may have been removed or damaged. At an incident involving a derelict building the fire service may decide that unless there is an immediate threat to life present or, it is reported that there may be people within, it is simply too dangerous to send firefighters into the building.

House to house enquiries have been conducted in areas where there are known empty and derelict buildings that have attracted anti-social behaviour, in order to gauge the impact this behaviour is having on residents and businesses.

Multi-agency meetings have been held about empty and derelict buildings in both Newtown and Llandrinio where owners have often been very helpful in arranging crime prevention measures once aware of the issues.

The Neighbourhood Policing team and Arson Reduction Team will be visiting High Schools to educate pupils on the dangers.

If you are aware of a derelict building in your community please contact the Arson Reduction Team on 01792 705130 or”

If you are aware of any anti-social behaviour or crime at an empty or derelict building please contact Dyfed-Powys Police on 101.