‘Fake’ firefighter and Bondi barbecuer draw cops’ ire


A teenager allegedly dressed as a firefighter and a bloke who lit a barbecue in North Bondi are among the latest people snared in a police crackdown on anyone causing trouble during the statewide fire ban.

Detectives have also released a list of fires they suspect were deliberately lit in Tuesday's catastrophic fire conditions, in the hope members of the public saw the arsonists.

Firefighters respond yesterday to a fire at South Turramurra, which is suspected by being lit by an arsonist. Picture: Matrix
Firefighters respond yesterday to a fire at South Turramurra, which is suspected by being lit by an arsonist. Picture: Matrix

"It's unacceptable that the actions of these few individuals endangered the lives and property of others, either intentionally or through ignorance," NSW Police deputy commissioner Gary Warboys said.

A 19-year-old male was arrested wearing a Fire and Rescue NSW uniform at Loftus about 9.30pm on Tuesday night, after a local told police they saw him riding a motor scooter through the Royal National Park.

He was charged with impersonating an emergency services officer and having goods in custody suspected of being stolen. He was released on bail to appear at Sutherland Local Court next month.

Another man, 36, was arrested when police raided his home about 10.15am on Tuesday in Koonorigan on the NSW far north coast and found Rural Fire Service uniform patches, documents and helmets.

He was arrested for breach of bail and taken to Lismore Police Station where he was also charged with dishonestly obtaining benefit by deception, having goods in custody suspected of being stolen and vehicle registration offences.

He is due to appear at Lismore Local Court on November 13.

Strike Force Tronto detectives have also asked for members of the public tell them about they saw any suspicious activity occurring around the times of the following fires yesterday:
* About 10.30am, New England Hwy near Moonbi -- Oxley Police District

* Just before 2.30pm, Hooka Creek Rd, Berkeley - Lake Illawarra Police District

* About 3.15pm, three fires in bushland north west of Doonan Pl, Balgownie - Wollongong Police District

* Just after 3pm near Bradley's Reserve, Kissing Point Rd; and 4pm, near Canoon Rd, South Turramurra - Kuring-Gai Police Area Command

* Just after 4.30pm, in the vicinity of Honeymoon Lookout, Cliff Drive, Katoomba - Blue Mountains Police District

* From 4.30pm, four fires throughout Morisset - Lake Macquarie Police District

* From 7pm, Royal National Park near Loftus - Sutherland Shire Police Area Command.

Another five people were found to have breached the state's total fire ban, including a 28-year-old man issued with an infringement notice when police allegedly saw him using his barbecue, which had an open flame, in North Bondi. The infringement carries a $2200 fine.

A 24-year-old man was arrested and charged for allegedly lighting candles at a campsite in Campbelltown, an 18-year-old male was given a court attendance notice for allegedly lighting his barbecue in Port Stephens and a 23-year-old man got an court attendance notice for allegedly lighting a grass fire to burn waste in Blacktown.
A 26-year-old man was also issued an infringement notice for allegedly lighting a makeshift incinerator at his home in Rockdale.

It came after police announced on Tuesday a number of other people, including a nine-year-old boy using a blowtorch, had flouted the statewide fire ban.