IMAGES we have published today on Page 5 of a group of individuals steadfastly determined to barbecue at Dovestone underline the difficulties the fire service and moorland marshals have in getting the public to understand how perilous their selfish and irresponsible behaviour could be.

Sadly, it may take a fatality – as a result of the kind of moorland wild fires which blighted Saddleworth and surrounding areas in the 2018 heatwave– before people truly understand how crazy this is.

We note that Oldham and Tameside councils have entered into “consultation” before seeking to introduce Public Space Protection Orders which would lead to anyone defying the barbecue and open fires ban being subjected to a £90 on-the-spot fine.

First of all, why enter consultation? Why not introduce the orders immediately? By the time they come in to force, it could be autumn and even winter, so what good could they be?

Furthermore, is a £90 on-the-spot fine for flagrantly ignoring warning signs and lighting fires which could lead to large scale deployment of fire crews – and the last year’s case, even the Army – on to the moors really enough? What about jail?

Surely, such defiance as was the case at Dovestone at the weekend when a 15-strong gang confronted two marshals and ignored advice from members of Dovestone Sailing club and the public who explained the situation, merits stronger enforcement action.

There is clearly an entrenched attitude among a minority of people who think they can do whatever they like. We say it’s time to get the message across: NO you can’t, because you have a responsibility to the rest of society to be behave sensibly and protect human life and the local wildlife.

If these people can’t do that they should STAY AWAY FROM THE MOORS!