Drone footage shows ‘thugs’ aiming fireworks at riot police

Drone footage shows “thugs” aiming fireworks and petrol bombs at riot police in Edinburgh.

Around 100 youths gathered in Niddrie, Edinburgh, just before 5pm on Sunday in a repeat of disorder seen last year in the neighbourhood.

Petrol bombs were lobbed at police officers, who were subjected to repeated attacks during the stand-off in Hay Avenue.

Perpetrators were branded “thugs” and the leader of City of Edinburgh Council warned they would face prosecution.

Drone footage showed a line of police officers with riot shields standing in front of vans with blue lights flashing.

A mob of black-clad youths gathered on grass in front of them and began throwing pyrotechnics.

The police made a retreat as a petrol bomb hit the ground in front of them and fireworks exploded.

The assault continued, with petrol bombs and fireworks forcing police to shuffle backwards.

The officers then ran at the assailants, in footage filmed from a nearby sports centre.

Last year in Niddrie, motorbike gangs terrorised the neighbourhood on Bonfire Night while fireworks were thrown on the ground.

Bonfire Night chaos – Edinburgh
The scene in Niddrie last year (Dan Barker/PA)

In 2018, Police Scotland set up Operation Moonbeam to tackle Bonfire Night chaos, and on Tuesday, riot police attended Kirkton, Dundee, after children reportedly as young as 10 set off fireworks.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Russell Findlay branded the youths in Edinburgh “thugs”, and council leader Cammy Day warned they would be prosecuted.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Police in attendance are currently being subjected to attacks involving fireworks, petrol bombs and other projectiles – and the public is asked to avoid the area while the response is ongoing.

“Specialist public order resources, deployed as part of Operation Moonbeam, are currently supporting local officers in the Hay Avenue area of Edinburgh, following reports of a large group of youths involved in the antisocial use of fireworks within the area.

“The police response is ongoing at present to keep the public and emergency service workers safe and local road closures are currently in place.

Police Scotland officers standing in a line in the Niddrie area
Police Scotland officers standing in a line in the Niddrie area (Handout/PA)

Mr Day said: “I’m appalled to see the scenes in Niddrie this evening. We’ve been clear that this sort of conduct is unacceptable.

“We’ve been working throughout the year in our communities to mitigate Bonfire Night-related disruption so it is extremely disappointing to see a minority of people behaving in this way.

“This reckless behaviour endangers lives and, like the majority, I share in their dismay and upset at this disgraceful behaviour.

“We are working closely to ensure the community are safe and appeal to anyone who can help identify those responsible to contact police so they can be dealt with appropriately by the justice system.

“Our emergency services have our full support and do a fantastic job of keeping us all safe.”

Mr Findlay said: “Such attacks on police officers are cowardly, reckless and dangerous. Police Scotland need sufficient resources to tackle these thugs.”