Calls growing for firework ban to beat Bonfire Night yobs

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CALLS are growing for the ban of fireworks across the Capital following Bonfire Night mayhem.

Politicians urging a crackdown have tabled motions both at local and national level in a bid to prevent any repeat of Sunday’s violence in Craigentinny, Muirhouse and Pilton.

The Evening News reported how masked gangs armed with rockets attacked police and lay siege to terrified residents sheltering in their homes.

City council deputy leader Cammy Day slammed the actions of a “small handful” as a “disgrace.”

A member for the Forth ward that includes Muirhouse and Pilton, he added: “The whole area has been rejuvenated with massive investment and the community has worked with us.

“There’s a small group of hooligans terrorising the community, attacking people doing their jobs and seriously burning our WPC.”

Two wrecked cars lie on the road in the aftermath of a violent Bonfire Night in ''Craigentinny. Picture: LISA FERGUSON

Two wrecked cars lie on the road in the aftermath of a violent Bonfire Night in ''Craigentinny. Picture: LISA FERGUSON

And he called for sterner penalties once the yobs are caught. “Each one gets caught by the police and goes through the justice system and gets a slap on the wrist and is back terrorising the community.”

MP for Edinburgh East, Tommy Sheppard, has written to Business Secretary Greg Clark demanding a review of the law on fireworks.

Mr Sheppard has also asked Scottish Secretary David Mundell to support moves to devolve authority on fireworks to the Scottish Government.

Writing in today’s Evening News, Mr Sheppard states: “We are talking here about low-grade explosives.

“Isn’t it a little odd they are so readily available – sold as toys by corner shops and supermarkets?”

He adds: “A tiny minority set out to cause havoc and intimidate local people. In a few places in north and east Edinburgh, a small number used fireworks not to entertain but to terrify. Local people imprisoned themselves in their homes for fear of going out.

“Cars were set alight and fireworks thrown at emergency services workers trying to protect the public. We’re lucky there weren’t even more serious injuries.”

Edinburgh Western MSP Alex-Cole Hamilton has called on Holyrood to investigate the “horror” of Sunday’s “riotous” behaviour. Mr Cole-Hamilton’s motion asks Holyrood to “note the call for the Scottish Government and its partners to investigate and address the antisocial use of unlicensed fireworks.”

But Cllr John McLellan Tory member for Craigentinny, which was also hit at the weekend, refused to support any ban.

“There are lots of families who have fireworks in their back gardens and these people shouldn’t lose that because of the actions of a few miscreants.

“I always recoil from banning calls as they impinge on civil liberties.”

Cllr McLellan argued the key, instead, was an “all agency approach” to disrupt large groups of youths gathering at unofficial bonfires.

“The broad issue is how to tackle large disturbances and make sure they’re broken up and remain broken up – there’s no point if it’s moving the bother elsewhere.

“I think there needs to be a lot more emphasis on restorative justice – making sure people are repeatedly reminded and forced to face up to the consequences of their actions.”