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Teenagers believed responsible for Northland arsons

Published: 11:17AM Tuesday January 29, 2013 Source: ONE News

Police believe a group of teenagers were involved in a spate of arsons in Northland.

An 18-year-old man has been arrested, and three younger teenagers referred to Police Youth Services, after a series of fires in the Bay of Islands town of Kawakawa.

The older man has been arrested for the arson of the Kawakawa Superette on January 13, and charged with two burglaries of commercial buildings.

A group of boys aged between 13 and 16 have also been connected to four fires which police believe were deliberately lit in the area.

Three from this group have been referred to Police Youth Services for their part in the arsons and connected burglaries.

Acting Detective Sergeant Greg Johnson said it was sad these young people had been accused.

"It is a very serious offence carrying a hefty penalty, but it is also such a danger to human life," he said.

"Not only are they putting their own lives in jeopardy, they are risking the lives of their own whanau and community who turn out as volunteer fire-fighters."

Johnson said police now have a pretty clear picture of who was responsible for the fires and will continue their inquiries this week.

"The most important thing for us has been stopping this behaviour before someone gets seriously hurt.

"We and the fire service will be taking a prevention approach with these kids and their families, making sure this doesn't happen again."

The 18-year-old man was arrested on January 23 and has been remanded in custody until February 12.