Teens arrested over Sunderland firework prank

Echo reporter David Allison examines the damaged letterbox near the shops at Witherwack, sunderland
Echo reporter David Allison examines the damaged letterbox near the shops at Witherwack, sunderland
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TWO teenagers have been arrested after a lit firework exploded when it was stuffed through the letterbox of a flat.

The banger was pushed into the hallway of connecting homes at the end of the My Stores row of shops in Woolwich Close, Witherwack.

One neighbour, who lives with her four children aged 11 to 20, said: “It’s worrying. If kids are going round with fireworks it’s illegal for a start but it’s also dangerous.

“If kids are going round putting them through letterboxes, that’s really worrying.”

A woman who lives in Rothley Court, just yards from the letterbox, said: “I did hear things on Wednesday night.”

The woman also said it brought back memories of the death of Arthur “Arky” Lonsdale, 52, who died in October 2004 after a firework was pushed through the letterbox of his home in Westerham Close, yards from Woolwich Close.

“It’s a worry after what happened seven years ago around here,” added the woman.

One man, who also lives in Rothley Court, said: “I heard fireworks last night which is why I kept my kids inside, but I didn’t see anything.

“We did hear the fireworks going off.”

This is usually a quiet neighbourhood, though.”

Police say they are working with fire officers to prevent deaths and injuries being caused because of the misuse of fireworks in the run-up to Bonfire Night.

Group Manager John Allison, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Playing with fireworks is like playing with explosives.

“They are incredibly dangerous with many people getting injured and tragically some people dying each year as a result.

“At the fire and rescue service, we often see the devastating consequences of what some people think of as a bit of fun.

“Seeing someone who is badly burned as a consequence is not fun. I’d like to ask anyone who does this how they would feel if it was one of their friends or a member of their family.”

Neighbourhood Inspector Lisa Musgrove, of Northumbria Police, said: “If someone had been near the letterbox when the firework exploded, the consequences of this incident could’ve been a lot worse.

“We won’t hesitate to take action against those causing problems or disorder.

“In the wrong hands fireworks can have potentially devastating effects and antisocial behaviour involving fireworks or bonfires simply won’t be tolerated.”

The incident happened at about 10.40pm on Wednesday.

The boys arrested, who are both 16, have since been released pending a police surgery.