Firework and arson attacks in Sheffield suburb described as ‘acts of terrorism’

Firework and arson attacks in a Sheffield suburb have been described as ‘acts of terrorism’.

Friday, 6th November 2020, 7:12 pm

Shocking video footage of incidents in Darnall last night is circulating online and there are now calls for local councillors, senior police officers and community leaders to address the issue.

A former resident, who left the area when his home was damaged in a firework attack a number of years ago, said action is needed in Darnall before lives and properties are lost to what he describes as ‘acts of terrorism’.

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Fireworks were misused in Darnall, Sheffield, last night (Image: @DarnallResident)

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The suburb has been plagued with firework related incidents over recent years, with last night’s disturbances largely taking place in the Staniforth Road area.

The concerned resident, who has contacted councillors and the local police team via Twitter, said youths and men were involved in last night’s attacks.

He said he was pelted with fireworks on the corner of Cattal Street as he attempted to drop off some shopping at an elderly relative’s house.

He claimed a group of six culprits was ‘indiscriminately shooting fireworks at passing cars and pedestrians’.

The former resident said in another part of Staniforth Road an industrial sized wheelie bin was dragged into the street and torched.

He said: “These types of disturbances have been happening for several years now.

“My previous home of over 20 years in Darnall was attacked by men with fireworks a few years ago. Within months my family moved out the area as we had enough and feared for both our home and ourselves.

“I feel that local councillors, senior police officers and community leaders need to address this issue immediately before both lives and property are lost to what can only be called as acts of terrorism.”

South Yorkshire Police said a total of 174 firework-related calls were received by the force yesterday, compared to 89 and 38 over the previous two days.

Responding to incidents of firework disorder across South Yorkshire, Chief Superintendent Sarah Poolman, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “We had an extra 59 officers on duty last night in addition to our response teams and neighbourhood policing teams, who were working a later shift.

“The majority of people enjoyed Bonfire Night safely from their homes but we saw incidents across South Yorkshire, mostly in Sheffield, where people, homes and vehicles were targeted with fireworks and where they were being used in a dangerous and anti-social manner.

“We had numerous calls, alongside South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, where incidents were being reported to draw officers into cul-de-sac locations to use them as targets for fireworks.

“Our officers are highly trained and skilled to deal with disorder, but that doesn’t mean they are invisible, they are still human and can still become injured.

“We received a call from Cavendish Road in Rotherham for reports a person with a knife. This was a hoax call and was used to get our officers to the area so they could be targeted with fireworks. This is disgusting behaviour and will not be tolerated.

“Thankfully nobody – officers or members of our community – suffered any injuries as a result of this reckless and dangerous conduct, but this easily could have not been the case.

“In circumstances where there is no threat to life or danger to people or our communities, officers will sometimes remain in their vehicles for their own safety.

“Following on from last night’s disorder we are conducting enquiries to identify those involved, which will include extensive review of CCTV footage.”

Three Darnall councillors – Mazher Iqbal, Zahira Naz and Mary Lea – have been asked for statements on last night’s mayhem and action to be taken.

Anyone with information about last night’s disorder should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.