Firefighters stoned and abused while tackling blaze in Sunderland

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FIREFIGHTERS were attacked while carrying out lifesaving duties in Sunderland.

Two crews were targeted by yobs on Friday when they arrived to attend a rubbish fire around 3.20pm on Woolwich Road in Witherwack.

Youths stoned the fire vehicles and verbally abused the firefighters before fleeing the scene.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is now sending out a stark warning to people who attack their crews, vowing to see each offender prosecuted under the Emergency Services Act.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: “We will not tolerate any form of verbal or physical attack against our staff. It is totally unacceptable and can distract crews from their main role of keeping the public safe and protecting them in emergencies.

“Sadly, attacks on our staff tend to increase at this time of year when we see more anti-social behaviour linked to bonfires and fireworks. We will do everything we can to protect our staff and have installed CCTV on every fire appliance which provides clear footage at incidents. We will not hesitate to use this evidence to prosecute anyone who behaves in this way.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident in Woolwich Road.

Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty said: “This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. I’d like to warn those involved that we will be carrying out enquiries to identify them and will take action against them.

“If anyone was in the area and saw what happened, or knows who the people involved are, I would urge them to get in contact with the police.”

Any witnesses, or anyone with any information about those involved, should contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.