Violence towards crews ‘unacceptable’ says fire chief after ‘shocking’ Eastbourne attack

A fire boss has called a ‘shocking’ violent attack on crews in Eastbourne unacceptable.

ESFRS (East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service) chief Dawn Whittaker has released a statement after firefighters responding to a blaze in Shinewater Park were assaulted by a group of young people yesterday evening (Monday).

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Dawn Whittaker

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Dawn Whittaker

One crew member was taken to hospital after being hit in the head by one of the stones thrown by the youths. Planks of wood were also thrown at the emergency team, who were called to put out a tree fire, and they were verbally assaulted according to ESFRS.

Group of youths throw stones and planks of wood at Eastbourne firefighters

Dawn Whittaker said, “I am absolutely disgusted by the fact our Eastbourne crew were both verbally and physically attacked by a group of young people last night when attending a tree fire. I want to be very clear this type of violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at any level. If any incidents such as this occurs in the future we will not hesitate in contacting the police.

“It’s just shocking that people want to harm the very people that risk their lives to keep them safe….very sad.

“The service welcomed the introduction of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 and we encourage all staff of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to report any incidents where they feel threatened or at risk and as a service we will support efforts to bring prosecutions to help protect our staff.”

Sussex Police said officers were called to the scene at 6.30pm. They conducted a search of the area, but no suspects were found.

The fire, which was put out by crews, is not being treated as suspicious.

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to report it to Sussex Police.

Contact officers online or call 101 quoting serial 1134 of 02/12.