HOUSEHOLDERS are being urged to heed advice to prevent vandals torching dustbins.
West Lothian Council have joined forces with the emergency services to issue the advice in the run up to bonfire night.
They hope to stamp out the number of wheelie bin fires which increase during the firework season.
West Lothian Council, Lothian and Borders Police and Fire Services aim to make people more aware of the dangers of setting wheelie bins on fire and have issued a number of tips
Only leave your wheelie bin out for as short a time as possible. For example, leave it out early in the morning of collection and bring it back in as soon as possible after it has been emptied. Where possible, do not leave it out overnight on November 5.
If you have the facilities to do so, store your bin in your garage or shed.
If you don’t have the facilities to lock your bin within a shed or garage, then try to store them away from the house and out of view.
Do not store wheelie bins in the staircase of a block of flats. If they are set on fire, residents could become trapped within their flats.
Do not overfill your wheelie bin, as an overflowing bin can be more tempting for people.
Executive councillor for the environment, Robert De Bold, said: “Wheelie bin fires are a massive drain on resources, particularly on the fire services during their busiest time of year.
“By following a few simple steps, residents can help the authorities prevent fires occurring.
“The vast majority of wheelie bin fires are started deliberately and more so during the firework season as the bins are often thrown on to bonfires.
“Toxic gases are given off, endangering the public”
Sergeant Gary Ritchie of the Safer Communities Team in Livingston, added: “People have died because of wheelie bin fires and the dangers can’t be made more clearer than that.
“Persons who are identified as being responsible will be dealt with by the police swiftly and the public are encouraged to contact us with any information.”