A COWARDLY mob hurled bottles and abuse at firefighters trying to put out a blaze that the yobs had started just minutes earlier.
The shameful ambush took place on Saturday night when the crew from Atherton was called to Astley Street Park at around 9.30pm.
A member of the public dialled 999 to report a bin being set on fire by youths who had congregated in the park.
However, as they arrived at the scene, they were greeted by a torrent of abuse by several of the gang’s members – estimated to be aged between 16 and 18 – while others took to launching bottles at the firefighters as they tried to extinguish the flames.
Police were called but before they arrived the teens fled the scene and the fire crews were left to put out the needlessly-started blaze.
Atherton station crew manager Dave Morris said: “It’s a very serious crime to target firefighters the way they did.
“Not only were we taken away to deal with a fire they started but to be greeted with abuse and bottles being thrown at us made it much worse.
“Not only does it put firefighters, who are only doing their job, at risk but it could also have serious consequences for them if they are caught and dealt with by the police.
“Getting police charges like this could seriously harm them in the future if they want a career.”
Police are now asking for the public’s health in identifying those responsible in a bid to prevent such incidents’ being repeated.
A spokeswoman confirmed their attendance at the scene but confirmed that when they arrived those responsible had already fled.
She said: “We were called at 9.40pm on Saturday. The fire service had attended to put out a fire set possibly by a group of youths who then shouted abuse and thought bottles before running away.
“By the time we arrived they had already left.”
Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call 101 or the freephone Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555111.