A MAN verbally abused firefighters before exposing himself to them, although one fire boss said it "won't have been an impressive sight."

The incident, which took place when a crew were called out in Keighley on Thursday evening, is the latest in West Yorkshire where firefighters have been abused, assaulted or pelted with missiles in the run up to Halloween and Bonfire night.

At a meeting of West Yorkshire Fire Authority's Community Safety Committee yesterday, members were given an update on how the service was preparing for this year's bonfire season.

Plans include sending "fire cars" containing a fire and police officer to the scenes of calls that are suspected to be "traps" before engines and full crews are sent, and making sure extra fire engines are available for the expected rise in call outs.

Jim Butters, Area Manager, said work had been done in the run up to November to try and tackle problem youngsters. He said: "We have been working very closely with West Yorkshire Police. We have had a fire car mobilised since we started seeing more attacks on firefighters.

"Sometimes we suspect a call might just be a way for youths do bring us to a certain place to attack us. If a fire car goes out ahead they might find that to be the case, and we decide not to send a fire crew there, or have the police deal with it."

He said there would be four such cars out in Bradford alone on the Bonfire weekend due to the high number of incidents in the district. He said the cars will include police and fire officers who know the local area. There will also be an extra seven fire appliances across West Yorkshire over the Bonfire period, with six in Bradford and one in Leeds.

Mr Butters added there had been four attacks on firefighters so far this month, down from 10 last October. He said: "We hope this is because of the good work we're doing with West Yorkshire Police, who have done a slightly different take this year.

"They have been talking to families of young people on a 'watch list'. The families and young people are taken to a police station and given a hard word. We think that is having an impact.

"We did have an incident last night, some of our firefighters got verbal abuse while on a job in the Keighley area, and one person exposed himself. It won't have been a very impressive sight I imagine."

He said the service were watching out for "pop up" shops, adding: "Major retailers that don't sell fireworks don't tend to be a problem. It is small, pop up shops that cause issues, they often sell illegal fireworks that can be much more dangerous.

"The message we get out is rather than buying a box of fireworks to set off in your garden, go to an organised fire event."

The committee were told the service had received over 120 requests for fireworks shop licenses in recent weeks, and work was being done to make sure all retailers were selling fireworks responsibly. However, pop up shops would try to "get under the radar."

Councillor Jessica Lennox, who represents Cross Gates and Whinmoor on Leeds Council, said: "The issue will probably be the people selling fireworks out of a car boot in a pub car park, that's the issue in my ward."