Fire thugs need strong message

Those who have heard the whistling of rockets and the explosions of bangers already will know that the firework season seems to come around earlier every year.

The use of fireworks is no longer restricted to Bonfire Night entertainment, as is traditional, but is increasingly becoming an opportunity for youths to put mischief into practice throughout the early autumn.

Alongside that, as the nights draw in, young troublemakers use the cover of darkness to light rubbish fires which can quickly get out of control and even put lives in danger.

The fire service must extinguish these fires, which in itself is problematic because it ties up firefighters and equipment in dealing with anti-social behaviour when they should be on call to attend much more serious and legitimate incidents.

But what is really adding insult to injury is when the fire crews are targeted by yobs throwing rocks and fireworks as they work to put out these fires before they can spread and threaten property and people.

Whatever justification these idiots think they have for this abusive, violent and downright criminal behaviour, the message needs to be driven home to them that they cannot carry out such actions with abandon and then assault those whose job it is to come and clear up their mess.

The fire service has already pledged that it will work with the police to bring the aggressors to book, and the situation will only improve if the courts deal with these young thugs with the severity that is necessary for those who seem intent on committing arson, assault and threatening behaviour – all crimes that carry deservedly strong sentences.

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