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Children as young as six attack firefighters

Children as young as six have been involved in attacks on fire crews here, it emerged last night.

Firefighters came under attack from stones and bottles on three occasions yesterday evening, twice in the Antrim area and once on the Oldpark Road in Belfast.

Area commander for operations Brian McClintock said between 30 and 40 young people were involved in the Oldpark Road incident, with some believed to be as young as six.

It’s thought they set fire to rubbish in a deliberate attempt to bring firefighters into the area. Alcohol was being consumed by many of the teenagers, he said.

No firefighters were injured but minor damage was caused to a fire appliance.

Meanwhile, it’s thought one group of around half a dozen children in their early teens were behind two attacks on fire crews in Antrim, one shortly before 7pm and another just after 7.30pm.

In both cases, rubbish was set alight to bring fire crews into the area and they were attacked with stones and bottles. No-one was injured but minor damage was caused to the appliance.

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“Young people causing this sort of activity need to have a bit of appreciation of the consequences, not just that the firefighters who are there to help could be injured, but when an appliance is tied up or damaged it could mean none is available elsewhere for a genuine emergency in the area and that could affect their own families,” Mr McClintock said.

“When a fire engine is damaged it comes out of the public purse. The public suffer for the actions of a few. This is not typical of people living in these areas, we’ve had a lot of co-operation from them.”

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