Firefighters attacked by bottle-throwing yob gang

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TOUGH anti-vandal action was promised today after firefighters tackling a blaze in South Tyneside were attacked by bottle-throwing youths.

A gang hurled the bottles at Hebburn firefighters putting out a suspected malicious blaze at the dene near Calf Close Estate, Jarrow, at 9pm yesterday.

Firefighters were forced to turn torches on the youths, who were hiding in bushes near Trent Drive and Calf Close Lane.

Crew manager Steven Carr said: “The youths started throwing bottles as soon as we began putting out a rubbish fire in a wooded area.

“They only backed off when we shone torches towards them. Luckily, none of our four firefighters were hurt and we managed to put out the blaze.

“We later reported the incident to police.”

The Calf Close area has become a malicious blaze hot spot and local councillors are stepping up moves to tackle the problem.

Coun Steve Harrison, for Fellgate and Hedworth ward, said: “We cleared bushes on the other side of the dene some time ago, but it seems the problem has just transferred to the other side, where youths are using the area as a drinking den, especially at weekends.

“One local resident told me about this incident, and said one of the youths was a 13-year-old local boy.

“I will be contacting police and the council’s community safety team about this and also our tree squad, who may thin out the bushes in that part of the dene at Calf Close.

“Plus, the fire brigade has a Lighter Nights campaign for this sort of incident, and we will get them on board as well.”