Yobs pelt 999 crews with bottles and fireworks in Shelton and Bentilee
POLICE are hunting gangs of yobs who pelted firefighters racing to 999 calls with bricks, glass bottles and fireworks.
Crews came under attack in Shelton and Bentilee as they attempted to put out fires.
One of the appliances is now off the road for at least a week while repairs are carried out.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service today condemned the Bonfire Night attacks which were recorded on CCTV fixed to the appliances.
It is the third successive year that fire crews have been attacked in Shelton on Bonfire Night.
In a night of terror, the yobs:
Threw bricks at a fire engine attending a blaze off Rectory Road, Shelton, at 7.26pm. The gang then threw fireworks at the crew who got out of their vehicle;
Hurled bricks at a fire appliance as it passed through the Havelock Place area of Shelton on the way to a fire in Selywn Street, Stoke, at 9pm;
Pelted crews with stones and glass bottles after firefighters were called to wheelie bin fires in Wellfield Road, Bentilee, at 9.25pm. The firefighters – who called for police back-up – left without being able to fight the blaze.
It is not known whether the Rectory Road fire was started deliberately to lure the crew to the area.
Hanley-based firefighter Jim Cooke, who was in the vehicle targeted at Havelock Place and Bentilee, said: "We saw the gang as we drove down past Havelock Place and then we heard a bang as a brick was thrown at the vehicle.
"We turned around to go back in an effort to identify those responsible and they threw more bricks at us. At Bentilee stones and bottles were thrown and we had to drive the vehicle away."
The 999 calls were attended by crews based at Burslem and Hanley.
Hanley crew manager Guy Volpe added: "These incidents could have been far worse. If the driver's window had been open in Shelton, a brick could have broken his skull."
Police are studying CCTV images of the incident as they try to identify the youths. It is estimated around 20 youths were involved in the Rectory Road attack with around 12 in Havelock Place.
Staffordshire's chief fire officer Peter Dartford said: "It's absolutely disgusting our firefighters have been attacked at all, let alone three times on what is one of our busiest nights of the year.
"What goes through these people's minds beggars belief."
The brigade was called to 63 incidents on Monday night – with 24 relating to bonfires or fireworks.
Latest figures show just one firefighter has been physically attacked since May, compared with two physical attacks in 2011/12.
Staffordshire Fire Authority member Bill Day said: "I can't understand the mentality of the people doing this."
Anyone with information about the attacks should call police on 101.