Attack on fire crews sparks prosecution warning

Firefighters attending a rubbish fire.

Firefighters attending a rubbish fire.

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Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is warning that it will prosecute anyone who attacks firefighters while they carry out life-saving work.

The warning comes after stones were thrown at a crew tackling a rubbish fire on Bridge Road South in North Shields just after 6pm on Wednesday.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: "This is the third attack against firefighters in as many weeks in this area. We will absolutely not tolerate any attacks on our staff.

"Thankfully none of our firefighters were injured during the incident but throwing objects at our crews clearly has the potential to cause serious harm. That is totally unacceptable and we will work with Northumbria Police to ensure that the people responsible are brought to justice.

"This attack hindered our crew’s ability to do their job and could have resulted in a small fire becoming more serious. I can only praise crews for their courage and professionalism in dealing with this incident.

"Attacks on firefighters not only prevent them from fulfilling their role to make our communities safe but also risk putting emergency equipment out of action which could be needed to save a life at any time.

"The safety of our firefighters is of primary importance and we will do everything to protect them. We have installed CCTV on every fire appliance which provides clear footage at incidents and we will not hesitate to use this evidence to prosecute anyone who behaves in this way.

Inspector Neil Armsworth, Neighbourhood Inspector for North Shields said: "Northumbria Police will not tolerate attacks of this nature against another emergency service. There will be officers in the Meadowell area tonight and over the course of the weekend dealing with this matter. We will utilise all available police and partnership enforcement powers to deal with any person identified as responsible."