Edinburgh Bonfire Night attacks on emergency services as areas declared 'no-go zones' by police

Fire crews responding to a huge volume of November 5 callouts were attacked by louts during a night of violence and mayhem, as riot police were deployed to help.
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Control room staff at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) took 1,025 calls during an eight hour peak period. Officials have there were five attacks on crews as they attended 356 callouts.

Meanwhile police say 483 calls were received relating to fireworks offences. Twelve people were arrested, and a further 15 were dispersed from Dispersal Zones, with officers saying further arrests could follow.

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The majority of serious incidents took place within Edinburgh’s Niddrie area, where youths threw fireworks at police, firefighters and ambulance staff. During a call-out to an illegal bonfire at Langside Street, Clydebank, SFRS were attacked by twenty youths using fireworks, prompting back-up from riot police. One police vehicle sustained damage and one male was arrested.

Among the flashpoints in Edinburgh was Marischal Road, where a fire engine had a window smashed, and a police car was bricked at Ferry Road Drive, where a riot squad van was also damaged.

Further incidents in Edinburgh’s Drylaw area were reported, where police and firefighters faced youths armed with fireworks, scaffolding poles and a baseball bat.

Three officers were injured, including two in the city’s Sighthill area, when the vehicle’s windows were smashed. Both were taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

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In the Duddingston area of the Capital, roads were barricaded by suspects and petrol bombs were thrown at police.

A major police operation was launched after violence flared in NiddrieA major police operation was launched after violence flared in Niddrie
A major police operation was launched after violence flared in Niddrie

Around the same time in Glasgow, a male outside the OVO Hydro threw a flare into a crowd of people. He was detained by security staff at the scene. Two people were arrested in connection with the matter.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs, Gold Commander for Operation Moonbeam said: “In some areas, particularly Edinburgh, various individuals have shown blatant disregard for the safety of the public and the emergency services and have actively targeted police officers and firefighters during the course of their duties.

“This behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. I want to make it abundantly clear that considerable follow-up inquiry will be conducted in relation to all of these incidents. Do not think that just because you evaded police on the night, that we won’t be knocking on your door in the near future.”

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He added: “All of those who were on duty during Bonfire Night showed exceptional professionalism and dedication to protecting communities from harm during extremely difficult and challenging circumstances. I am grateful for all of their efforts.”

Firefighters attended 242 incidents in the west service area, 89 in the east, and 25 in the north between 3.30pm and 11.30pm on Saturday.

It is understood there were no injuries reported from the firefighters.

Assistant chief officer David Farries, director of service delivery for the SFRS, said: “We are disappointed to report five attacks on our firefighters. In the run-up to Bonfire Night, we had spoken about this kind of unacceptable behaviour by a small minority which sadly happens year after year.

“Our staff should be able to carry out their role without being attacked and it is disappointing that people have tried to hurt firefighters and have damaged our appliances and equipment.”