Both fires took place in Longdendale in the Peak District. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Both fires took place in Longdendale in the Peak District. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Four men from West Yorkshire have been summonsed to court after a Peak District wildfire that police believe was started by a barbecue.

The four, in their early 20s and from Leeds, have been reported under the emergency coronavirus legislation.

Derbyshire Constabulary said they had identified the group they believe may be responsible for starting the blaze on Friday, which destroyed about hour hectares of moorland just off the A682 at Woodhead. Officers said they believed the barbecue got out of control.

A spokesperson said: “They have been summonsed to court to face allegations under the new coronavirus legislation, namely that they were associating with people other than those in their own household and that their travel by car to Derbyshire was unnecessary.

“An investigation into the fire is still ongoing.”

Firefighters from Glossop and Hyde in Greater Manchester tackled the blaze after being alerted just after 8pm. It was the first of two wildfires that evening. A second, nearby at Didsbury Intake, Torside, overlooking Rhodeswood Reservoir, was dealt with by the Glossop crew and Greater Manchester firefighters from Stalybridge, about 11.35pm.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service group manager Paul Hawker said: “Clearly the stay-at-home message isn’t getting through to some people and once again it’s devastating to see fires burning on the moors.

“Moorland fires cause untold damage to the landscape and local wildlife and while crews are tied up responding to such fires, they aren’t available to attend potentially life risk emergencies.

“At a time when we are all coming together to play our part in supporting the NHS and other key workers, saving lives and generally doing what we can to get through this pandemic, the thought of someone deliberately starting such a fire is despicable.

“The advice is quite simple, stay at home.”

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