Sighthill Park: Thugs Throw 'Burning Items' at Fire Crews, After Responding to Reports of Blaze Set

Youths ‘hurled burning items’ at an Edinburgh fire crew, who were responding to a fire in an area which has recently been affected by several incidents of fire-setting.

Over the weekend of Friday, January 28 to Sunday, January 30, police received 15 calls in relation to youth disorder and fires in the area of Broomhouse and Sighthill Park.

Police said that “matters escalated” at around 6.55pm on Friday, 28 January, when Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews had stones thrown at them.

They confirmed that no one was injured, but said that “enquiries into the matter are continuing”.

The reports of youth disorder and fires followed a similar series of incidents that occurred the previous weekend.

Inspector Keith Forrester, from Wester Hailes Police Station, said: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable, dangerous and wastes valuable resources that should be directed towards protecting the community and responding to other calls from the public.

“We are continuing to support our emergency service partners, who should feel safe to carry out their important duties".

He added: “I want to reassure the local community that extensive work is ongoing to identify those responsible for these incidents and to prevent further instances".

“I am seeking the support of the community, so if anyone has information or private CCTV footage of the incidents, please contact police by calling 101 and quoting incident 3022 of 28 January.

"We are also appealing to parents to engage with their children and ensure they are not taking part in these reckless activities.”

However, councillor Ashley Graczyk, an independent who represents the Sighthill and Gorgie ward, said that ‘burning items were also thrown at fire crews.

She said: “I was at Sighthill Park early last week to see the damage for myself and was absolutely horrified at what I saw.

“What was even more shocking was the escalation of violence directed to the fire service who attended the scene over the weekend.

“The fire service could not deal with the fires until arrival of the Police as they were being threatened by youths hurling burning items at them.

She said that wheelie bins had been set alight around the American football pitches, and in the middle of the playing field.

Due to the damage caused by the fire, practices for a number of teams have had to be relocated to another pitch.

Ms Graczyk also said that glass bottles were “deliberately smashed up on the pitches”. She has received complaints from local dog owners – some of whom have taken their pets to the vet, due to glass cuts on their paws.

She has also heard from residents living near the park, who have claimed that property and bins were stolen around the time.She added: "I find it so disheartening to see this senseless activity at one of the best parks in Edinburgh with precious green space, great facilities and enjoyed by many people.

"I’m determined to do everything I can to ensure the public will have every opportunity to enjoy an inspiring community asset in our lovely public green space”.

Anyone with information can contact police by calling 101 and quoting incident 3022 of 28 January.

Published in Edinburgh News | 2nd February 2022