Derelict, unused buildings and buildings under construction or renovation are often subject to arson, criminal damage and theft.

Such buildings are seen as an easy target by offenders if unoccupied and not secured.

Steps to prevent arson

Perimeter security

Perimeter fencing of at least 2m in height and gates are the first lines of defence for a site that has one or more derelict or unused buildings, or for buildings under construction.

Securing the building

To prevent intruders from gaining access to the buildings, all doors, windows and other potential access points should be locked or otherwise secured.

Pedestrian and vehicle access

The number of entrances to the site should be reduced to the practical minimum.

External lighting and CCTV

This helps to protect the vulnerable parts of the building, in particular, access points; can provide an effective deterrent, and assist in the identification of offenders and provision of evidence to help secure a prosecution.


Consider removing climbing aids or placing something on top, or along the edge of the low flat roof, that will deter intruders.

Intruder detection

If the buildings are of value consider installing comprehensive mains powered intruder detectors.

Combustible waste management

Effective management of combustible waste can reduce the opportunity for arson.

Combustible external fixtures and fittings

Poorly maintained external fixtures and fittings can provide intruders with access to combustible materials, for example, broken fence panels, disused wooden sheds and outbuildings and insecure wooden trellises.


If the building has a letterbox that is not in use, it should be sealed.

Flammable materials

All flammable materials on site should be locked away in a secure store out of hours.

Fire detection and suppression

Ideally the buildings should have comprehensive mains powered automatic fire and smoke detectors that are linked to an alert system and monitoring service.

Closing doors to prevent the spread of fire

One of the most effective measures to prevent a fire spreading through a building and to reduce smoke damage is to ensure all internal doors are kept shut, particularly out of hours.

Local intelligence and information sharing

Local businesses and people sharing information and experience of crime prevention can benefit everyone.

Contact the Fire and Rescue Service Arson Reduction Manager on 024 7648 3205, or by email at to discuss any concerns.