Attacks against our firefighters must end now

Yobs who attack firefighters have once again been condemned following the latest in a spate of sickening assaults on the emergency services.

Monday, 30th October 2017, 9:10 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:55 am
Attacks must stop
Attacks must stop

Firefighters were on the receiving end of a foul-mouthed tirade from a group of youths and the fire engine was pelted with small rocks on Thursday night.

The incident happened in Briar Grove, Westleigh, on a housing estate which crews say has been a particular problem in recent months.

The attacks in the borough mirror an alarming pattern of shocking incidents across the region which the authorities are determined to stamp out.

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Deputy mayor for policing and crime Beverley Hughes said: “There have now been over 10 attacks across Greater Manchester in the last month. These attacks take up extremely valuable time and resources of our emergency services – it will not be tolerated.

“There will be serious consequences for anybody that is found to be involved in this sort of behaviour and we will work closely with Greater Manchester Police to investigate attacks on our emergency services.”

In the latest incident on the so-called Trees estate firefighters attended a blaze that had been started deliberately at around 9.15pm on Thursday.

Four teenagers were standing around the fire and gave the crews from Atherton and Leigh stations abuse as they extinguished the flames.

They then used the back alleys on the estate to catch up with the vehicle as the crew was returning to Leigh station, throwing small rocks at it as the firefighters drove along Atherleigh Way.

Crews have suggested that some of the same people may be involved in multiple incidents in the area.

Crew manager Stuart Parr said: “There seems to be particular hostility towards firefighters on this estate. The problem also seems to be on the increase, particularly in the run-up to Bonfire Night.

“We’ve had about 10 incidents in Briar Grove within the last few months and in a couple of them we’ve had objects thrown at the vehicles.

“Thankfully in this case there was only superficial damage to the bodywork and no injuries to us.

“It’s just very frustrating to be verbally abused and have things thrown at you, apart from the obvious risk to the crews’ safety. It’s especially annoying when the reason you are there is a fire that has been deliberately set.

“All incidents are reported to the police and we are working closely with them to try to ascertain the people doing this.”

Firefighters in Leigh have been particularly vulnerable to attacks by yobs in the past few weeks, with several incidents recorded.

Wigan crews also had sticks and fireworks thrown at them by youths as they dealt with a number of wheelie bins that had been set ablaze in Winstanley earlier this month.

The borough’s firefighters are trialling body cameras and engines have also been fitted with 360 degree CCTV to make it easier for perpetrators to be prosecuted.