FIRE engines were pelted with stones when they turned up to tackle a rubbish fire.

Youths threw stones thrown at appliances in Woolwich Road, Witherwack,Sunderland, at 3.20pm on Friday (2 November) and shouted abuse at the crews before running off.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is warning that anyone caught attacking firefighters will be prosecuted under the Emergency Services Act.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: "We will not tolerate any form of verbal or physical attack against our staff.

“It is totally unacceptable and can distract crews from their main role of keeping the public safe and protecting them in emergencies.

"Sadly, attacks on our staff tend to increase at this time of year when we see more anti-social behaviour linked to bonfires and fireworks.

“We will do everything we can to protect our staff and have installed CCTV on every fire appliance which provides clear footage at incidents. We will not hesitate to use this evidence to prosecute anyone who behaves in this way."

Witnesses should call Northumbria Police on 101, extension 69191, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.