Three 12-year-old boys caught lighting fires on NSW South Coast

Three 12-year-old boys have been dealt with under the Young Offenders Act following two deliberately lit fires on the NSW South Coast over the weekend.

Police spoke to two of the children after a fire was lit in a reserve in Koonawarra, a suburb of Wollongong. The boys will attend a youth conference for the offence of causing a bushfire.

Youth justice conferencing is a formal, legal process that consolidates a wide range of practices based on restorative principles. It "allows the offender(s) to address the harm they have caused, rather than going through a court".

In a separate incident in Warilla, a suburb of the City of Shellharbour, a third boy was issued with a caution after police were called to a small fire behind a sporting club.

Lake Illawarra Police District Inspector Brian Pedersen said it was "quite distressing" that young people were "continuing to ignore the message about how dangerous fires can be".

"We are urging the whole community to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour," he said.

"Information provided to police from members of the public can help us identify and suppress firebugs before they start lighting.

"I want to urge members of the community; if you see something, say something. If you have suspicions at all and wish to report a crime, don't take the risk – contact police or Crime Stoppers."



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