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Firefighters to be joined by police on call outs to Sunderland estate after brick attack

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther.
Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther.

Fire crews responding to 999 calls to a Wearside housing estate will now be joined by police after officers had bricks thrown at them as they battled a blaze.

Firefighters from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service had been called to a malicious fire started using rubbish bags in the Hylton Red House area at around 6pm last night when the disorder broke out.

The service said bricks were thrown at the team as they worked to put out the fire, while youths attempted to add wheelie bins to the pile of burning waste.

Northumbria Police were called in to help protect the crew and bring the trouble to a close.

No one was injured during the call out.

The fire service has since said any 999 calls reporting incidents in that area will see the officers joined by the police.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: "As a service we are here to respond when we are needed.

"However, it is totally unacceptable that our crews are facing physical and verbal abuse whilst carrying out challenging and dangerous work.

"The significant increase in deliberate fires is also a serious cause for concern.

"Not only are people putting themselves at risk in starting fires, but as we only have finite resources, our service could be seriously challenged if we have to respond to deliberate fires at the same time as a life-saving incident.”

A spokesman for the service posted on Facebook: "Despite trying to save people's lives, our firefighters have been attacked AGAIN with bricks, whilst attending a malicious fire to some rubbish bags in Sunderland yesterday evening.

"Northumbria Police had to be called in order for us to carry on with our job - when is this going to stop?

"We put our lives at risk everyday to save yours, not to be attacked and verbally abused by you."

Anyone with information about the incident can call Northumbria Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.