Fury as hooded yobs charge through Portsmouth street blasting homes with fireworks
GANGS of anti-social yobs ‘put lives at risk’ after charging through a city street and blasting fireworks at houses and into gardens.
Police were called to deal with the chaos unfolding in Buckland at 5.50pm on Wednesday – but officers were forced to withdraw due to safety concerns.
The dangerous behaviour was caught on camera and shared on the Instagram page Spotted Pompey, with one video showing a crowd of hooded hooligans running amok in Greetham Street, Southsea, firing multiple shots from Roman candles.
At least 10 fireworks were set off in the 19-second clip, exploding on homes, in gardens and in front of bedroom windows.
Police will be sent out again to stop any attempts to repeat the dangerous behaviour, according to Inspector Marcus Kennedy.
Insp Kennedy said: ‘This type of behaviour is clearly unacceptable and dangerous to those people involved and the wider community.
‘We have been carrying out work to identify and deal with those involved.’
Emergency services bosses across Portsmouth have expressed their outrage and demanded youths to stop acting so recklessly.
Mark Chapman, chairman of the county’s Fire Brigades Union which represents 1,300 firefighters, was appalled by the life-threatening behaviour.
Mark, who lives in Portsmouth and has been a firefighter for more than 19 years, said: ‘Acts like this are mindless and irresponsible, placing lives in danger and putting further pressure on a fire service that has been undermined nationally by successive cuts.
‘There are now 16 less firefighters in Portsmouth since 2016 and anti-social behaviour such as this have the potential to put lives in danger, delaying a life-saving response from where it is needed most.’
Another video appears to show youths setting off fireworks in a nearby street in the area later on the same evening.
Andy Weeks, Southsea fire station manager, was aware of the disorder and said fireworks should never be sold to children under 18.
And in a direct warning to the city’s youths about the deadly consequences of messing around with fireworks, the top officer said: ‘Fireworks are explosives and in the wrong hands they have the potential to cause serious injuries as well as damage to properties.’
Mr Chapman added: ‘Fireworks can change lives forever. One person’s joke can be another person’s scar for life. It’s not something to be messed with.
‘Fireworks are not a toy. Something that could be just a prank to someone could change another person’s life forever.’
The chaos comes just days before the traditional Bonfire Night celebrations.
Many major events have been scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Firefighters now fear people will turn to staging private displays, increasing the risk of more firework-related disorder in the city.
On Wednesday – shortly before the disorder in Southsea – a firework launched into a bin sparking a blaze.
The incident, in Seymour Close at around 6.30pm, was the second bin fire in the road – with another fire taking place at the back of Barrington House for the second time in a week.
An hour later in King Albert Street, Landport, a wheelie bin was set alight in a bin shed resulting in smoke pouring into a stairwell of a nearby block of flats.
Two appliances from Southsea attended both sets of incidents before extinguishing the fires.