Mischief Night vandals cause chaos across Merseyside

construction site Image copyright Liverpool Echo
Image caption A gang of youths smashed windows to get inside a construction site

Firefighters have been targeted by youths throwing fireworks and widespread damage has been reported across Merseyside on Mischief Night.

The fire service said it attended 34 deliberate fires before 23:00 GMT on Wednesday, compared to 12 last year.

In Cheshire, police attended 81 incidents and two police cars were damaged and taken out of service.

The Mischief Night tradition sees youths commit anti-social behaviour on the night before Halloween.

It is thought to date from the 1700s when a custom of lawless hours or days prevailed in Britain.

Image caption A car was set on fire in New Ferry

Cars were set on fire and an assisted living development under construction in Garston had its windows smashed.

A witness told the BBC "a big gang of lads smashed wooden barriers, broke windows and got inside" the site on King Street.

"The police come, fire engines come and they couldn't get anywhere near because they were bricking them then," she added.

Crews also had eggs thrown at them in Stockbridge, but there were no reports of injuries.

Cheshire Police said it attended 81 incidents in Halton and Warrington.

These included a vehicle being tipped on its side, buses damaged with stones and fires in children's play areas and on a boat.

Lauren Woodward, from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, described the atmosphere as "intimidating".

Transport company Arriva said anti-social behaviour led to buses being diverted due to a large number being seriously damaged.

Eight people have been arrested for offences including criminal damage and public order offences, Merseyside Police said.

Supt Paddy Kelly said staff at the McDonald's in Walton had flour thrown at them, and there were complaints from residents in Kirkby, New Ferry and Fazakerley.

"It's not big and it's not clever," he said.

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