Cleveland Fire Brigade is appealing to the public for support after repeated violent attacks on firefighters in the Northern Road, Whinney Banks area of Middlesbrough.
In the last fortnight fire crews have been called out to fire incidents in the area 13 times. Groups of children and youths are deliberately setting fires and attacking vehicles and firefighters, the latest attack was Wednesday (17 March).
Carl Boasman, Assistant Chief Fire Officer and Director of Community Protection said: “It is completely unacceptable for our staff to be subject to violence and acts of vandalism whilst protecting the public.
“Our job is being made more difficult by the thoughtless actions of a minority who in this instance deliberately set fires and attempt to injure staff and cause damage to fire engines, potentially making that vehicle unavailable to respond to emergency incidents and diverting resources away from attending other incidents.
“Such violence puts firefighters at risk of injury or even worse and Cleveland Fire Brigade will not tolerate such attacks. Our vehicles are fitted with CCTV cameras and staff are equipped with body cams and we will use any evidence we have to support the police to secure a prosecution of anyone who has been violent towards our staff.”
Sproson, from Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Team, said: “It is unacceptable that
we have people in the local area purposely going out and setting fires and
abusing our emergency services. This will not be tolerated in our area and we
are doing everything we can in order to identify those responsible for these
incidents and hold them accountable for their actions.
“People need to be aware of where their children are, what they’re doing and who they’re with. We are in the midst of a global pandemic and people also risk fines should they be caught persistently breaking the regulations.”
Middlesbrough Council’s Neighbourhood Safety team has identified two young people from the CCTV footage building fires in Northern Road. One young person has been issued with a final warning, and an application will be made for a civil injunction if they are involved in further nuisance.
The second young person has is in breach of an Acceptable Behaviour Contract and will be visited this week by the council and Cleveland Police. Two other names have been provided and they will be visited this week also.
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “This abhorrent behaviour is beneath contempt, and has no place in civilised society.
“Firefighters put their lives on the line every day to keep the rest of us safe, so for anyone to attack them is just unthinkable. Those responsible for these cowardly attacks will be caught and punished, and I call on all parents to teach their children that this will not be tolerated.”
The public can report issues confidentially to CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/pre-form