The courts need to get tough on people who attack members of emergency services when they are answering calls, a Northern Ireland Assembly member claimed today.
Ulster Unionist MLA David McClarty condemned youths who pelted fire crews with stones and bottles as they battled two separate blazes in Somerset Drive in Coleraine.
One engine was damaged in the attacks but no firefighter was injured.
Divisional officer John Smith hit out at the young thugs responsible.
He said: “When the fire brigade responds to incidents, they are responding to a call for help from the general public.
“We don’t feel it’s fair that our personnel should be put at risk when they are responding to help someone else.
“We would like to call on parents to control their children and young people to stop them throwing bricks and stones at appliances.”
The East Derry MLA said such attacks could not be tolerated.
The Ulster Unionist Assembly Group chief whip said: “Those responsible for attacking paramedics and fire service personnel are depriving the community of the right to life.
“The time has long passed when those who carry out these attacks should feel the full force of the law.
“We have to make an example of them and that means the courts have to get tough and come down heavily on those convicted of this kind of behaviour.
“It is the only way to make others step back and think about what they are doing. The best way to stop attacks is to crack down in the courts.”