Cleveland Fire Brigade is asking for public support after a fire engine was damaged in a call out earlier this week.

Firefighters attended a call to extinguish a bin fire on Cass Road, Hemlington, early on Monday, August 17. Around 30 people were setting fire to bins as the firefighters arrived.

Cleveland Police were also called after the group of people began shouting and throwing missiles at the firefighters at the scene. The group then began to throw further missiles and shout at both services attending the call.

Cleveland Fire Brigade has seen 13 similar instances since March including a tree trunk thrown through the windscreen of a fire engine and bricks aimed at crews as they tackled a garden fire that threatened to spread to other properties.

Last month, Cleveland Fire Brigade and North East Ambulance Service came together after an increase in such attacks during the lockdown.

Steve Johnson, Senior Area Manager Prevention and Engagement said: “It is completely unacceptable for our staff to be subject to violence and acts of vandalism whilst protecting the public.

“Our job is made even more difficult by the thoughtless actions of a minority who in this instance deliberately set fires and damaged a fire engine, making that vehicle unavailable for emergency response.

“Such violence puts firefighters at risk of injury or even worse and Cleveland Fire Brigade will not tolerate such attacks. Our vehicles are fitted with CCTV cameras and staff are equipped with body cams and we will use any evidence we have to support the police to secure prosecution of anyone who has been violent towards our staff.

“Deliberate fires such as these divert resources and run the risk of us not being able to respond to a life-threatening incident.”

Cleveland Police are supporting the fire brigade following the incident and ask any residents with information to contact Cleveland Police.

A spokesperson for Cleveland Police said: “In the early hours of this morning, police received several reports of anti-social behaviour in the Cass House Road area of Hemlington.

“It was reported that a large group of adults and youths were causing damage to nearby properties and vehicles and were burning items in the middle of the road. When colleagues from Cleveland Fire Brigade attended, they were subjected to abuse.

“This type of behaviour will not be tolerated under any circumstances and our colleagues from the fire service should not be attacked when they go work.

“Officers are investigating the incident and are carrying out enquiries to try to trace who is responsible. Anyone who information regarding the incident or those responsible is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101 quoting 133867”.