Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Greater Manchester firefighters pelted with stones as hostility towards service hits new heights

Greater Manchester firefighters pelted with stones as hostility towards service hits new heights

| By Mark Thompson

Greater Manchester firefighters have recently come under a number of attacks while attending call-outs in the region.

Earlier this week, a ‘large group of people’ threw missiles at a crew while in Bolton, with a stone hitting a fireman.

Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet at the time, but ‘this could have been much worse’ said Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager Paul Etches.

It follows two (unrelated) incidents on the same night last week, with firefighters being subject to hostility in the Leigh and Salford areas.

In both events, fireworks were thrown at the emergency service crews.

“The use of fireworks in these recent events is an extremely dangerous escalation and we will be working with partners to examine where these are currently being purchased,” Etches said.

At the attack in Leigh, firefighters initially arrived at Westbourne Avenue at 9:49pm to discover that there was no emergency.

They were then confronted by a gang of youths and found that the road out of the area ‘had been blocked by the group, with wheelie bins blocking their exit’.

These take the number of hostile incidents recorded by GMFRS in the current financial year up to 28.

In total, 62 were recorded in 2016-17 – a rise of 138 percent from the previous financial year’s figure of 26.

 

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Beverley Hughes, Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, said: “To reiterate what I said only last week, these kind of incidents not only affect GMFRS’ firefighters – both mentally and physically – but they also have an impact on the community and potentially put lives at risk. 

“Such attacks on emergency service workers take up valuable time and resources that might be needed at incidents elsewhere.

“This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and those who take part in this kind of activity risk facing serious consequences.”

On Thursday, the emergency service tweeted a poem about the attack for National Poetry Day.

It read: "Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ Don’t throw stones at us / We’re human too. #NationalPoetryDay @FireBolton.”

Image courtesy of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service via Twitter, with thanks.