Scotland’s head of fire prevention has warned “lives are being put at risk” after a new report found the number of deliberate fires started in Scotland more than doubled in a three-month period last year.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews battled 60 blazes every day between February and April last year - an increase of 97 per cent.

In Glasgow, the number of intentional fires tackled by crews shot up from 319 to 658, while in Edinburgh they doubled from 128 to 256.

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However, the largest rise was recorded in Argyll and Bute, East and West Dunbartonshire - where crews recorded a 175 per cent rise in deliberate fire-raising incidents, while in North Lanarkshire, a 174 per cent increase was reported.

A total of 3,658 deliberate fire-raising incidents were recorded by the service during the period - up from 1,852 in the same three-month timeframe in 2018.

Assistant Chief Officer Ross Haggart, SFRS director of prevention and protection branded the incidents “reckless, selfish and devastating”.

He said: “We take a zero-tolerance approach to deliberate fire setting and it is a small minority of individuals who are potentially putting themselves, our firefighters and innocent bystanders at risk of serious harm and injury.

“Make no mistake – fire can cause injury and death, it can be devastating to properties, businesses and the environment.

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“Last year, witnessed a shocking rise in deliberate fire-raising during the Spring period.

“These incidents are a needless drain on our resources and can impact on our response to genuine emergencies – where lives might very well be at risk.”

He added: “The fact that our firefighters are called to thousands of deliberately set fires each year is completely unacceptable.”