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Last Updated: Monday February 11 2008 12:17 GMT

Fire crew attacks 'on the rise'

Firefighters

Firefighters say they're being attacked more and more in England and Wales as they try to do their jobs of saving lives and fighting fires.

Firemen and women say they've been spat at, had bricks and bottles thrown at them, and been stabbed and shot at.

One firefighter said he and another fireman were attacked by 30 youths when they tried to put out a bonfire.

However, the Government has a different way of counting attacks, and says things are getting better.

And the Fire Brigades Union, which speaks for firefighters, says things are looking better for Northern Ireland and Scotland, where the number of attacks are falling.

But in other parts of the country attacks happen so often, they're not even reported anymore, the union has warned.

Fire crews
Crews have to face attacks as well as fires
It says there are about 40 attacks every week, and has called for more protection for fire crews.

Matt Wrack, from the union, said it was almost "beyond belief" that firemen and women could be attacked when they were trying to save lives.

He said in some places people were attacking crews for fun, but there were very serious consequences.

A spokesman for the Government said it was happy to talk about things with the union, as the safety of firefighters was important and they shouldn't have to face attacks.



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