Tyne & Wear

Firefighters attacked with stones in Newcastle

Fire crews have been attacked with stones and verbally abused by youths in Newcastle, it has emerged.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said the incidents had happened in Westerhope, Walker and Elswick, within the past week.

The service has sent out a warning that anyone caught attacking firefighters will be prosecuted.

It said that as Bonfire Night approached, patrols would be increased to catch those responsible.

District manager for Newcastle Tony Markwell, from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said the behaviour of the youths was unacceptable.

Increased attacks

He said: "It distracts us from our main role of keeping the public safe and protecting them in emergencies.

"The Emergency Services Act makes it a specific offence to obstruct or hinder emergency works. I want to warn those who are doing this that we will press for prosecution of anyone who attacks our staff."

He said attacks on staff tended to increase around Bonfire Night as anti-social behaviour linked to bonfire and fireworks increased.

The service said anyone found guilty of an offence may face a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record.

Hose reel threat

Between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010 there were 68 attacks on firefighters across Tyne and Wear.

From 1 April 2010 to date there have been 39 attacks.

The three recent attacks included an incident in Elswick where youths verbally abused firefighters and attempted to stone them. The youths then threatened to cut the hose reel.

The other two, in Walker and Westerhope, crews were stoned and verbally abused, as they attempted to put out fires.

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