Firefighters are being bottled and attacked with fireworks on callouts to an area of Winsford .

Crews are coming under siege as they respond to arsonists in Wharton.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service believes it is ‘only a matter of time’ before one of their members is seriously injured.

They now need a police escort as they go to shut down the illegal bonfires.

Watch manager Lee Cliffe said: “Now when we are called to fires in Wharton we have to rendezvous with police who then escort us to the scene both for our safety and for the safety of others who live in that area.

“It is only a matter of time before someone sustains a serious injury or, worse, is killed.

“Not only do these fires put the lives of firefighters at risk, they also cause considerable danger to the public because while fire engines are at the arson scenes they are not available to respond to real emergencies.”

There have been 37 deliberate fires in Wharton, and 57 across the whole of Winsford, since the start of October.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in action
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in action

Firefighters have been attacked by a gang with stones, bottles and fireworks ‘more than once’. Fortunately no members of their crew have been injured so far.

Northwich LPU chief inspector Simon Meegan said: “Although we sometimes see an increase in this type of incident over the Halloween and bonfire period, it is disappointing a minority of young people are continuing to engage in this behaviour.

“We will continue to work alongside Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service to deal with anti-social behaviour and small rubbish fires in the Wharton area.”

The action of the gang is also putting fear into the community.

Weaver Value Housing Trust have threatened any of their tenants found to be involved with eviction.

WHVT tenancy enforcement officer Sam Lloyd-Jones said: “These illegal bonfires are causing damage and making local people feel scared.

“These mindless acts by a minority of individuals are affecting the quality of life for the majority of law-abiding residents on the estate.

“If Weaver Vale Housing Trust tenants, or members of their households, are found to be involved in this kind of behaviour then we will use the powers available to us, for example seeking to evict those responsible.”

Almost 20 deliberate fires were reported in Chester in three months

Cheshire Fire says arson causes an average of two deaths a week across England.

Mr Cliffe said: “The crime of arson is extremely dangerous.

“Fire spreads quickly so what may seem like a small fire can easily become out of control, damaging property and, in worse case scenarios, cause injury or even death.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.