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Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 08:51 GMT
'Scab' firefighter in change of heart
Firefighters at Plymstock picket line
FBU leaders tried to persuade the five to turn back
One of the five non-union firefighters who crossed a Plymouth picket line has decided to join his striking colleagues.

The unidentified man has asked the Fire Brigades Union representative at Plymstock for a membership form.

There had been angry scenes at the station earlier when the five arrived at Plymstock Fire Station.

Union leaders had tried to persuade the new watch to turn back but were unsuccessful.

Remained defiant

From outside the station the Devon FBU secretary Gary Jones told the BBC the strikers remained defiant, but added there was no pressure on firefighters to join the union.

Mr Jones said: "One of them has decided to come out and apply to join the FBU to support the colleagues on the picket line.

"We're outside and have no contact with the people inside."

Earlier in the day about 60 strikers had gathered at the fire station where the mood was hostile.

More than 20 police officers were present at the site, with an extra police team on standby.

It is the first time that full-time non-union firefighters in the south west have crossed a picket line during the strike.

Suspicious fire

Meanwhile, in Kent police said they have arrested a 30-year-old woman in connection with a fire on Saturday in Maidstone in which a man died.

Police say they are now treating the fire, at Victoria Street in Eccles, as suspicious.

The woman is being held at Maidstone Police station.

Police refused to confirm that they have launched a murder investigation.

Matthew Thatcher, 27, who worked for Mid Kent Water, died from smoke inhalation.


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25 Nov 02 | England
25 Nov 02 | England
24 Nov 02 | England
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