Shocking video shows youth firing 'roman candle firework gun' into Harehills Road

Young people have been launching fireworks into roads and pointing them at people in Harehills.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 11:45 am

With two weeks to go until Bonfire Night, there are fears that the area could see a repeat of the ugly scenes last year when armed police were called after youths threw fireworks and missiles at officers and set fire to bins.

Worrying footage has emerged on social media of a young person using what appears to be a makeshift firework gun during the day.

But the issue seems to be particularly bad at night, with reports of firework misuse in the Ashton Road play area, Harehills Park and Banstead Park - where trouble flared last year.

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Andi Hofbauer, Vicar of St Aidan's Church, said there had been "several spates" this week in Banstead Park, which her church overlooks.

She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "I don’t mind fireworks for a bit of fun, but the constant daily misuse is such a nuisance for the neighbourhood.

"And seeing the young people chasing each other with them and pointing them at passers-by is outright stupid and dangerous."

The Harehills/Chapeltown Twitter account has also raised concerns about the issue.

Young people have been misusing fireworks in Harehills (photo: Andi Hofbauer).

A post read: "21 days left till bonfire night. Some teens have got a roman candle firework gun and are shooting fireworks onto Harehills Road. This post is another call for attention to this for West Yorkshire Police in Leeds East, before the actual day to quash this.

"We need to stop this before it gets out of hand. Young kids somehow getting hold of fireworks, shops selling them illegally need to be held accountable too."

Anyone using fireworks in an anti-social or threatening way may be held in contempt of court and could face being arrested, imprisoned, fined or having their assets seized.

Superintendent Jackie Marsh, West Yorkshire Police strategic partnership lead for Safer Leeds, said earlier this week: “The dangerous use of fireworks and associated anti-social behaviour continues to impact on the lives of people in communities across Leeds around the Halloween and Bonfire Night period, despite our ongoing partnership work to tackle the issue.

“Those responsible not only risk causing injury to others, as well as themselves, but they create an atmosphere on the streets where people can feel unsafe.

“This is completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated, and this new Leeds-wide injunction will give us much-needed additional powers to intervene at an early stage and prevent incidents before they occur.

“We will be making full use of the injunction as part of our efforts to tackle the issue with the aim of making long-term improvements for residents. We hope it will also send a very clear deterrent message to those who think it is acceptable to behave like this.”

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, added: “We will not tolerate any form of anti-social behaviour in our communities, which is why we took the decision with our partners at West Yorkshire Police to seek additional powers through the courts to help us tackle the deliberate and dangerous misuse of fireworks.

“I am delighted to say that the injunction has been granted, and in doing so will not only provide us with additional tools to stop this type of reckless behaviour, but also with the powers to take quick and positive action against those involved.”