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Lucky break for police who caught an alleged arsonist in the act

A young man charged with starting a fire was caught in the act by rescue police who were attending the scene of a separate incident.

When rescuing a paraglider stuck in a tree, Wollongong police followed the smell of smoke to a nearby scrub fire, where they found a 20-year-old man allegedly “fanning the flames”.

“We were just at the right place at the right time yesterday,” says Police Inspector Don Faulds.

The incident is one of several involving young people or minors accused of deliberately lighting fires, in defiance of total fire bans.

A nine-year-old boy confessed to lighting a fire with a blowtorch in Nowra, and in Queensland a 16-year-old was charged after allegedly starting the devastating Cobraball bushfire.

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Image: Getty/Lebazele